Chicken Wing Gingerbread Man

a personal site in chaotic and underperforming flux

Non-Technical Stuff

life ain't all fun and code

Book Reviews

in which I read books and write somewhat better about them

  • The Complicities by Stacey D’Erasmo

    "The story begins in the wake of a crime."

    Reviewed at Identity Theory.

  • Radio Iris by Anne-Marie Kinney

    "There's a Kafkaesque layer of weirdness smeared across everything…"

    Reviewed at The Collagist.

  • The American Girl and The Glitter Scene by Monika Fagerholm

    "Monika Fagerholm creates a dark, dramatic, and lyrical world, often insular, full of change and loss.... I fell in love with this world and these books; they are, for me, a fresh reminder of what story itself is about."

    Reviewed at The Collagist.

  • Some Things That Meant the World to Me by Joshua Mohr

    "Joshua Mohr’s debut where Michael Gondry would go if he went down a few too many miles of bad desert road."

    Reviewed at The Collagist.

  • Drowning Tucson by Aaron Michael Morales

    "Fill your book with blatant, modern-day classic, critical thematic concerns and a reviewer ought to have no problem calling them out in an easily digested bullet-point format.... Except, this book hurt. And trying to find a way to talk about that without merely repeating over and over again that this book hurt presents a far greater challenge."

    Reviewed at The Collagist.

  • Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem

    "Let me be completely transparent: with Lethem’s work, I approach it with expectations. I expect spice. In this case, I found the book flavorless and cold."

    Reviewed at Identity Theory.

  • Ray of the Star by Laird Hunt

    "Consider the f-bomb: you can trace the trajectory of the story’s heart by the elegant deployment of that dexterous cuss word across the pages of...Laird Hunt’s latest (arguably best, unarguably most emotionally engaging) novel."

    Reviewed at Identity Theory.

  • What Is All This? by Stephen Dixon

    This review includes footnotes.

    Reviewed at The Quarterly Conversation. (The link will take you to Wayback Machine archival snapshot.)

  • The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich

    "It is a slippery novel. It will never lay still and compromising in your hands, but the harder you hold on to it, the harder it is to hold. In confounding, it rewards: to borrow a line from the book, 'It’s only a problem if you make it one.'"

    Reviewed at The Collagist.

Technical Stuff

life is all fun and code

Tech Demos

a few things I've needed to think through

  • Responsive Images

    Using the <picture> element and getting into art-directing web images.

  • Spatial Manipulation

    Figuring out where an element is on the screen and/or on the page and then doing things with that information. (The end result here is perhaps better served by Intersection Observer, but it's been a while since I've looked at it.)

  • Image Triggering

    Making images do tricks when the appear on screen.

  • Progressive Web App

    Doesn't do much but helped me get a basic understanding of how to set up a PWA.

  • Local Storage

    I mean, it's not going to replace the notes app on your phone any time soon, but it did help me get a basic handle on how to work with local storage.

  • Netlify Functions

    Maybe you need three random colors? There's no reason to do this using a Netlify function other than wanting to figure out how to do this using a Netlify function.

  • Notifications API

    First stab at figuring out the notifications API. Eventually I want to apply Push to this as well, but turns out that's a whole other thing.

Other Links

to other things


...this site

Once upon a time the idea here was that it might be nice to make a website without knowing what the website was going to look, or do, or be, before starting. Turns out, that resulted in a huge mess. I've since turned it into a functional portal page, links to all my other messes that are scattered all over the place. Which is actually kind of fun in its own weird, low-key way.

...the name of the site

Honestly I had the hardest time come up with something relevant.

That said, early in 2019, about two months and change before I bought the domain name, I welcomed my second son into the world. There was for a while a particular swaddle/wrap thing that he liked, which made him look adorably hilarious. (Sleep deprivation may have been a factor.) I likened certain curves of it to a chicken wing; his mom said it made him look like a gingerbread man. She's more right than I am, of course. Still, the phrase "chicken wing gingerbread man" got stuck pretty hard and fast in the singsongy regions of my brain.

So, yeah: welcome to Chicken Wing Gingerbread Man, a site born out of fatigue and general designer/developer antsyness.

My name? Oh, yeah, it's Darby, by the way.

To quote my about text from

By day I'm a web designer/developer for a college near Cleveland, Ohio. By the rest of my time I'm a reader, who is also trying to write more about what he reads. I also run, and after almost three years of running, I'm coming to admit that I've graduated from "very slow" to "probably actually thoroughly average."

You can meet me over on to say hi if you want more.