31 March 2005

[us_politics] Simon LeBon, Circa 1985, Addresses A Joint Session Of Congress

Hi Guys! By the way, are you aware you're being illegal?
It's making your savior behavior look evil.
'Scuse my timing, but, hey, how'd'j'you fit in
with this flim flam and judy?[1]

Screw Nostradamus and the Bible Code. You want prophecy, look to Duran Duran and Arcadia.

[1] lyrics from "Election Day", by Arcadia, from the album So Red The Rose (1985)

[net_life] It's Sam Klein's World, You Just Live There

I'm very fond of my given name. Being a type geek helps. To people who love type, type holds more than mere letterforms they have interesting or uniniteresting looks and form words with nice or not nice shapes. I've always been partial to names in which the forename (first name) is longer than the byname (lastname) and the middle name. My name, "Samuel John Klein", works on that level most certainly.

The name Samuel, whilst having Biblical proportions, has a nice majuscule S up at the front, ends with a strong minuscule l at the back, and the low area between are all nice, orderly x-height type, mostly vowels. I've always liked vowels just a little better than consonants, with a few exceptions. And the byname Klein, with it's strong-backed starting letter and the x-height minuscule n at the end, has a profile something like a wedge. Together just the first and last name work very well, visually, and when you add the middle name John, you get a pivotal center for the other two wordforms to work on.

I really can't say it otherwise: my name rocks. I'm happy and proud to have it.

The name itself comes from a man long dead. I am the second Samuel John Klein, my father's father was the first. Mom adored Grandpa Klein, always said he was a happy fellow and he loved her as his daughter-in-law. Regrettably, in the mid 1960s before I was too very old, Grandpa Klein died, in his 80's, I understand, happy Silverton-area dairy farmer. I've only ever seen a picture of him, with a little hat on and dressed up with an Oregon Centennial pin on his lapel. His son and myself are both chips off the old block, and the older I get, the more I will resemble them, although I do think they would have looked askance at the long hair.

Anywho. I told you all that, to tell you this.

This will sound somewhat deranged, but I like looking at my name so much I'm compelled to get it into print. I load up the articles I've written at Quark VS InDesign just to see my name at the top. It's on those websurfs that I cast my Googlegillnet far and wide to gather other Sam Klein's that are out there.

Occasionally I find some interesting results.

This Link will take you to a Wikipedia profile page for someone calling themselves Sj, and who says thier name is Samuel Klein. Though he doesn't say what the "J" stands for, he does say that he goes by "SJ", which is coincidental, because that's what Mom called me when I was a neat thing.

I must abashedly say that the rest of the Wikipedia profile page makes little or no sense to me. But he does take the time to say who he is not, and one thing at the end of that string really caught my eye: "Winnipeg-based dectective Sam Klein".

Sa' wha"?

So, I followed this link to the Thrilling Detective site, which is apparently a detective fan's ominbus on the web. Seems our fictional Sam Klein is a street tough who lived in the rough North End of Winnipeg in the first and second decade of the 20th century, and becomes a detective as most interesting characters in these stories do...accidentally.

The Canadian author Allan Levine has written two Sam Klein novels, The Blood Libel(1997) and Sins Of The Suffragette(2000). I'm going to check them out, even though I'm not a fan of historical detective fiction, I am, as has been overly documented already, a fan of Sam Kleins.

Up to now my Googlegillnet sweeps have turned up a Dr Samuel Klein, a specialist in obesity (I ought to talk with him as I do need to lose a few pounds) and a handful of other Samuel Kleins as well as a Samuel J. Klein or two. But so far, Google has coughed up only one Samuel John Klein, and that is YT. So, to paraphase Fafnir, I am the whole worlds only source for Samuel John Klein.

Being Samuel John Klein is sometimes great and sometimes shabby, and rarely is it ever ideal. But if you look at it the right way, it's always interesting.

[pcc_life] Tales from the Breach:No Rest for The Weary

So, I've spent the entire night (the last two-three hours of it anyway) going through my CD-Rs of my saved work and hauling bits and pieces out of storage to put together a selection of what I consider my bestest work to take into the first session of Portfolio Prep tomorrow.

See, this is why I think designers and design students are some of the best people in the world. One menches, "hey, you're in the Portfolio class too, aren't you?"

You see, due to exterior pressures I've taken three years to go through the program. Me and just a few other stragglers from the class who entered in 2002 are finishing up now. But we designers seem to know our own.

"Why, yes," I said.

"Well, you do know that you have to bring your stuff in, don't you."

"I didn't know that", I replied.

"Yes," she said, "Precious told us we should get together what we feel is our best stuff to start our portfolios with."

And then it came back to me. If I were on the normal track, the progression would be from Professional Studio Practices, where we ginned up our first personal promo, straight into Portfolio Prep, and that's just what Precious Bugarin, the appropriately-named instructor (the "Precious" part, silly...I don't know that a "Bugarin" is supposed to look like, per se) told us as we left that course that we should gather up that sort of thing.

I tucked it into the back of my mind at the time. Once I recalled that (thanks to the prompting), I found I had a very good idea of what constitutes my "best" stuff, so the selection was fairly easy. What surprised me was that I had so much of it. Logos, a couple of newsletters, a magazine concept, a few illos.

Actually, I've come quite a way in three years. And the Columbia Overlook, a real-world app, should go quite a ways, I think. I even have an InDesign project from last year. that I liked. So, right now, I have this bulging folder in my Dock called "Portfolio" that I'm going to cull when I get up.

And if it wasn't for that fellow GD student who started a year after I did, I'd not of come in with anything. I tell you, my friends, my people, we designers, we are a tribe. Quote me on that.

29 March 2005

[design, tools] Massive Adobe Creative Suite Chatter

In the interests of full disclosure, nota bene that I am an irregular contributor to QuarkVsInDesign.com

Accoding to this post on the QuarkVSInDesign site. details of the improvments to Adobe's signature Photoshop application, dubbed Photoshop CS2 (the second release of Photoshop under the Creative Suite banner, essentially Photoshop 9) have been leaked to the world.

Apparently what happened is that someone accidentally posted a press release at Adobe. Think Secret and AppleInsider both pounced on it. Cue QuarkVSInDesign, a website devoted to covering what we like to call "Desktop Publishing War II".

There's some mighty tasty features there. If this is the sort of thing you like, go look via the link above, which has links to the two rumor websites as well as a link to a PDF (appropriate?) of the press release.

As May comes closer, I also understand we are to expect the full release of the whole Creative Suite 2. Some feel this sets the stage for a marketing hearts-and-minds battle that will be joined in full when Quark, Inc finally releases XPress 7. The best I've been able to find out is "sometime this year", in a stream of rumor and chatter that is utterly devoid of XPress 7 screenshots.

That's where it's gonna be for me. See, some time ago I vaguely remember chatter that a goal for Quark was to make
XPress 7 "more InDesign-like". As far as I'm concerned, interface is all, or nearly all. The look of the Adobe apps go for a common theme and a common look and atmosphere. With the preponderance of positive press that Adobe has gotten over the Suite, the well-designed interface of Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator reinforce an overall positive user experience.
It feels modern and up-to-date.

QuarkXPress, on the other hand got a great facelift when it moved out of the Classic shell and into a spiffy new Aqua outfit. But it was still the old QuarkXPress; the palettes were still the same palettes, the toolbox was still the same toolbox. It still, even with PSD Import and QuarkVista, feels like release 3, 4, and 5.

XPress 3 was released back in 1990. You didn't misread that: Nineteen Ninety. Xpress 4 was the version you encountered between 1997 and 2002...that's five years with nothing more than a point update. The front end of QuarkXPress hasn't significantly changed in fifteen years.

Here's Quark's dilemma. They not only have to update the application, to make it relevant to layout artists and prepress pros in a world where Adobe offers such long sought-after features as native transparency support (QuarkXPress users: no clipping paths!!!), built-in PSD support, and superior PDF output, but they also have to make XPress users feel like they're moving into the future in all ways. And that happens when the interface design evolves along with the program. Adobe users already feel this way.

I predict (I have no info to base this on, just a hunch) that QuarkXPress's interface will evolve with 7. I think we'll be working in an XPress that looks a lot like InDesign. Quark has a great negative legacy it's trying to live down; so far, with the new XTensions, the free upgrades, and the quick and courteous email support, they've made strides. But it still, so far, is a qualified success at best; PSD Import and QuarkVista aren't perfect, and email support quality has been hit-and-miss.

Quark could add even more spiffy new features (like inline drop shadows), but unless Quark scores major style points, Adobe will increase its lead over Quark, because in Adobe you get Viper styling at a Saturn price, instead of Quark, which gives you Saturn styling at a Viper price.

[us_politics] Why Does Sun Myung Moon Hate America?

He owns the Washington Times. He heads a worldwide church. And the same fellow whose followers got married in groups of thousands during the Eighties thinks it's time to end American-style democracy.

A new daily stop for me is
John Gorenfeld's blog. Far from being merely an eccentric leader of a heretical Christian sect, he's a Man with a Mission...a mission from God. Or, hey at least he thinks so.

For instance, did you know that, back in March 2004, this fellow was coronated King (of a sorts) of the USA? 'Srewth! It happened in the Dirksen Senate Office Bulding on 24 March 2004. "Rev" Moon, in a regal elevation ceremony, was crowned with a "Crown of Peace". And the host committee had six congessional...that's congressional, as in "member of Congress", as in "U.S. Representative"...members, representin' for us.

What's that? You say you don't care for Moon and his Unification Church? Too bad. Money was spent. Your tax dollars at work, people. Of course, it did cause a little bit of a stink back when it happened but, in contrast to what happens when a liberal Democrat is caught in a sex scandal, down the memory hole this bowser goes.

So, the question I ask myself is, why are my fellow Americans and some U.S. Congressmen supporting what this fellow does if he wants to end America As We Know It? Are they Unification Church members, or do they just like power and will accept whosever's help they can get to get it and keep it? Even if they use taxpayer money and taxpayer-supported public facilities to do what I'm sure they think is just sucking up to a self-made conservative sugar-daddy.

I mean, they're thanking him now. These types always expect thier temporal due for the favors they extend. They should wait to thank him until they get his bill, I'm just saying.

And, for those who still are bereft of clue, the ultimate goal of the Unification Church is just that...Unificataion. Of all faiths. Under "Rev" Moon, who sees himself as the actual Messiah (this, I believe is called "blasphemy". Look it up), and who calls himself and his wife the "True Parents".

Still think mixing Church and State is okey-dokey?

[pcc_life] One Last Time Unto The Breach

It started today with two classes, Preparing Files for Print (PF>P) and Graphic Design 6.

Portfolio Preparation on Friday. I'm starting to get the feeling that that one will be the toughie. Can't say why just yet. Just know.

24 March 2005

[type design] Microsoft's New Six

According to this article on poynter.org, MSFT plans on shipping six new fonts with its OSs beginning in 2006.

These are notable because, coming from an assumption that more and more content is being read on video display devices such as cell phones, laptop screens, and computer screens, the fonts are designed to this practicality.

There are the sans-serif Calibri, Candara, and Cordel; the serif Cambria and Constantia: and the monospaced Consola. The article itself is instructive because it acknowledges and illustrates some of the considerations designers go over when using and designing with type.

Over my typographic education, my instructors have shown something which I have (and, indeed, most of us) on a gut level understood for quite a long time. Type is more than merely figures and shapes on a page or on a screen. They carry weight, character, and atmosphere. You expect a certain sort of look from type on a contract, which is different than the look you'd expect from type used in a comic strip or even on a promotional poster. Picture a home mortgate document with Comic Sans MS (which has other sins, but that's for another post) even as only the headings to the sections, and you'll get an idea of what I mean here.

Moreover, there is a question of readability. The harder you have to work to read something, the less likely you will be to want to. Looking at something takes energy (what is one of the things we do when we are tired? Close our eyes momentarily) and the harder one has to work to read something the more unpleasant it will be. The designers answer to this is to obsess and design the small parts of the letter, the curves, the way the strokes flare (which also imparts a character), the size and aspect of the serifs. And this feeds back into the overall shape and character of the font. If done well, it's something that gives a solid feel.

Anyway, read the article. I want those fonts; they're good ones, and the comments say why.

22 March 2005

[sundial_life] Palm Tungsten E...here.

As it transpired, there was money to replace the m130. I now have, for my very owners, a Palm Tungsten E. Used, from the store we call "Stuff", at SE 82nd and Otty Rd, for $129.

Hey, it works for me.

Not only that, The Wife[tm] was all for it. She understands geek bragging rights and wants me to have as many of those as I can. The only thing I still don't have is the Games card, but I got my cribbage and Dave Mayes' Rally 1000, and his excellent Cribbage for Palm. Dave Mayes has put togther a few free games for Palm, and as a matter of fact, if you like Cribbage you owe it to yourself to get his game because it's wicked smart and keeps your counting skills sharp-or improves them if they're dull.

Dave's freeware Palm games are here

Today we ran out trying to find a special thing: a snapshot of the street sign that displays the highest-numbered avenue in the greater Portland system. I know where it is, and I found the street but not what I"d hoped for, and we found some interesting things along the way and a gorgeous sunset. Expect a post on this in the next day or two.

Oh, and if you use QuarkXPress with the PSD Import XTension, and XPress starts crashing on startup, redownload it and reinstall it. Don't copy back the XTension, it's been corrupted somehow. It worked for me.

21 March 2005

[blog_life] Fafblog!

In my ongoing tradition of finding something everyone else has already found anyway and getting enthused about it, I institute a link to Fafblog!, the whole world's only source for Fafblog.

19 March 2005

[pcc_life] PCC Looks To Help Stranded BCTI Students

Just cruised by the PCC homepage, pcc.edu. Found this link at the lower right hand corner of the page.

Essentially it looks like PCC is extending a helping hand to people who were done to by BCTI's dodgy business model, and is doing so by examining what they've done while in those other hallowed halls and tailoring a program to fit, and evaluating thier educational experiences to see what they might be able to get credit for already having been done.

The press release says it better that I can. And I'd advise anyone in this situation to check PCC out...it gives great value for the money. Sixteen large for 145 hours of course? That sounds kind of insane.

[sundial_life] Palm m130...gone.

Sad news to report. My Palm m130 has simply disappeared. I am a little sad about this.

It was kind of fun to have a Palm. And I'll be honest, I wasn't using it for organizing jack squat; I've always been better at using paper. I have an unCalendar for that. But I did have cool games. There was an SD card that had SimCity, Backgammon....I had ularn for Palm on that. Isn't that neat?

No money to replace the Palm. That's the real thing. Maybe I ought to institute one of those wish-list thingys I see all over.

I'm unhappy it's gone. Oh, I'll get along..easy come, easy go...but I miss being able to play ularn at the drop of a hat.


I decided to set up an Amazon Wish List. The link is in my sidebar just under my email contacts in the "Contact me" section, also clicky here.

As anyone can see, my needs are quite modest. See! I'd settle for the Zire! I'm not piggy!

15 March 2005

[design] It's Done, For Now

As of this writing, the Spring 2005 edition of the Sierra Club-Oregon Chapter-Columbia Group's tabloid size four-page newsletter, the Columbia Overlook, is put to bed with the ftp'ing of the ZIP archive to the Oregon Lithoprint server. If anyone who reads this is curious about what I do, I provide links to PDFs of them on the bottom of my home page.

I dig this group, I love doing this for them, I love doing layout.

Now all I have to look forward to is tech editing Pariah's book, and the last term of instruction at PCC. Hell, I've done less before.

I'm gonna be frazzled, but it's been worse, believe it or not.

[blog_life] Aaron's Returned

A month or so back, I opined about how a person who linked to me...first person who linked to me...got so disillusioned by the amount of comment spam he was getting that he took his 'blog offline.

That 'blog was called pontifications. His was the first 'blog to link to mine, at all. Nobody asked him, I didn't ask him, he just found my words and like them, and liked them enough to link to me. Which, if you enjoy writing and telling the world what you think as I obviously do, is something ineffably cool.

Well, Aaron's back. He's finding his voice again and playing with his graphical style, and has improved on what he had before. I recommend. Visit the link embedded above.

14 March 2005

[design] Two City Flags of Oregon

I wonder how many people are aware that major Oregon cities actually have official flags?

Portland does. Here it is:

It's a pleasing design. The symbolism is a little unclear, but if I correctly recall, the green might represent our forested landscape (in which case later this year, it might have to be updated to brown), the blue stripes our rivers, the gold might represent commerce, and the star tying it all together at the center the city itself. In design, it is evocative of the mysterious six pointed star hovering over the head of the lady on the Portland City Seal.

It's also a good design, at least by one organization's standard. There actucally are 'flag geeks', and they have an organiztion, the North American Vexillogical Association (vexillology, for those who don't know, is the study of flags, taken from Latin roots). They seem to be the acknowledged authorities in the area of flag design because, well, there doesn't seem anyone else doing it seriously for one, and for the other, they do a very thorough and credible job about it.

Last October, NAVA released a survey, American City Flags Survey. This poll included members of NAVA and about 400 members of the public, and rated 150 city flags along five criteria, as detailed in NAVA's Good Flag, Bad Flag, which can be found on thier site. The standards are direct and reasonable statements about how a flag ought to look for good effect, solid design, and, yes, emotion impact...because flags are meant to move people to pride, after all.

The standards are, paraphrased: Simplicity-the flag should be so simple that a child could draw it from memory; Meaningful-the design elements should relate to what they symbolize; Limit color usage-use two or three basic colors only, and choose standard colors that contrast well; No Lettering Or Seals-I think this is because lettering or seals compete with the main theme, causing distraction hence obscuring or confusing the message of the meaning, and Be Distinctive or Related-don't copy another design but draw similiarities where apprpriate. Survey respondents rated each pont from 1 (bad) to 10 (good), and the scores were averaged fo the aggregate number.

It's clear that Portland's flag has those qualities in strong proportion. Thus, out of 150 rated US city flags, Portland rated seventh, with a rating of 8.38 out of 10, behind Wichita KS, but ahead of Indianapolis IN.

Salem actually has a city flag, too, and here it is:

It ranked 51st out of 150, with a rating of 4.71 out of 10. Top third of the middle third of the class, better than most, not as good as the really good one. By the NAVA standards, it's easy for me to see why they might have done that. The word "salem" on the right would be a big negative hit on that score. Also, the yellow does not contrast well with the white field, making the word printed on the long, yellow stripe a bit hard to read and the yellow on the white is hard on the eyes generally.

The design's strength is in simplicity and meaning. I was a teenager in Salem when the flag debuted, and I remember vaguely the description of why the design was settled on. The Capitol cupola is an obvious reference, and is rendered with appropriate and almost poetic simplicity. The five stripes' beveled ends converge to form a star in the negative space, evoking a double symbolism as the state capital (the star being a traditional mapmakers' symbol) as well as Salem's regional prominence (all local roads lead to Salem) and even a geographic-schematic similarity (the state and federal highways in the greater Salem area do rather radiate out as spokes do from a wheel's hub). The colors of the stripes are open to interpretation, of course; to me the green symbolizes our environment, the gold the flow of commerce, and the blue the Willamette River.

My gut feeling is that the score on Salem's flag is a bit unfair; I think it's a fun design that carries a big message with economy. Moreover, I think that the graphic treatment of the type makes it straddle the middle ground between type and pure design element. However, the NAVA statement that there should be no type on the flag has merit and is well taken, so I'll be happy that Salem is better than average. After all, we could have got the design sense that rendered the Pocatello banner, which came in last at 1.48 out of 10, and for a very good reason; it's merely the logo of the Pocatello Chamber of Commerce put on a sheet of fabric. And, friends, that AIN'T design!.

Moreover, as one moves down the list, the things that begin to emerge as one goes from good to bad become obvious. More complex designs, more type on flags, more colors. Sometimes stacking the good next to the bad is more apt explanation than any amount of words can be.

In the meantime, we can be proud as Portlanders-our flag is officially cool!

(Source for all information and images: the NAVA survey page. Source for my opinions, my tiny little brain.)

13 March 2005

12 March 2005

[meme] Saturday Slant: Statuesque

Without any futher ado, the Saturday Slant, , "Statuesque"
The town council has announced its intent to erect a new statue in front of the town hall. Since there are enough statues about town of the founder, explorers, and other long-dead figures, the council has decided to allow the citizens to nominate someone to honor with the statue. Entries are open to anyone, living or dead.

Who do you think deserves to have a statue erected of him/her in your town? The town council wants justification for the nomination, so why should this person be honored with a statue? Speak from your heart.

Bud. Freakin'. Clark. No question. Best mayor evar!

After all, what other mayor cut such a figure...and still doesn't have an indictment? Goldschmidt was quite the thing, back in the salad days, but he's devolved into someone who is more interested in serving big business than the people and his hidden life defines the word "disreputable".

No, Bud Clark really has the heart and soul of P-town. Consider the following:

* He was a cool bar owner before being elected mayor. He was the dark horse.
* He was a bike-rider in a city that fancies itself a bike Mecca.
* Two words: "Whoop-whoop!"
* The annual Mayor's Ball
* Expose Yourself To Art, The Poster. Certainly people remember this, but for those benighted: Picture a fella in a raincoat and floppy cap, holding his coat open. He is holding it open to an abstract sculpture of a woman, downtown, near Southwest 5th and Washington (the sculpture still exists). That fella in the raincoat was old "Whoop-whoop".
* Vera Katz, despite her interesting character, is still colorless when compared to Bud.

In short, he made following government fun, and you never knew what he was going to do next. We need more Bud Clarks in Portland life.

I do have a concept for the statue; a statue of him, in the raincoat, exposing himself to that statue down on the Transit Mall. But (wait for it), when you go round to the front (and you know you will), he won't be nekkid, thankfully. He'll be fully dressed, with a sign hanging on his chest, saying "Gotcha!"

Follow this button to the cultural center of the continent:

11 March 2005

[blog_life] Local Funny-Named Burg Goes National

Over at the 'blog Eschaton the word "wanker" gets a lot of use. It's intended as a pejorative toward our punditocracy, who usually do more harm than good in shaping public opinion.

With that sort of word-usery, you'd wonder why Wankers Corner hasn't been bandied about yet. Well, wonder no more; here it is.

Update, 11 Mar 05 @ 1607h:Credit for the photograph goes to Bill Dunlap of Lake Oswego, Wildunlap@aol.com.

[sundial_life] Best. Concert. Evar.

NOTA BENE: Some adult language in this post, splat-substituted for the TV-G crowd. A UNIX reference is used to obscure one instance.

We just returned from the Duran Duran concert, after a side trip to the Hot Cake House (you know the one, on SE Powell Blvd) to get some real food down us.

I overheard a fellow concertgoer say "I'm 20 years late for Duran Duran." As am I. But, fsck, it was worth the wait!!!!

I feel sorry for you if you couldnt make it to the concert. This was a peak experience.

My ears are still ringing and my throat is still coarse.

The concert got underway at 8pm. Some extremely forgettable band that couldn't even be bothered to announce thier own name. They did have one cute and acid song about how the lead's ex-girlfriend drove a black Jetta and now he sees black Jettas everywhere and he thinks he was stalking her.

Now, we got seats in the 220 section. Row "O". That's two rows below the top in the back left corner. Hell, like I said, I was just thankful to be there. And then, after the opening act concludes, we get a boon...a Rose Garden employee comes up to our level and starts counting us off to get moved forward. Me and The Wife[tm] jump at it, of course. We move lower...and up to 111 section. We are sittlng at the same level as the concourse and just back of the front row of the floor section.

I feel as though I could jump onto the stage without much effort.

After what seems an eternal wait, the lights go down, and the boys come out. Cue two solid hours of bliss. The energy in that room was fscking amazing. To see musicians I have idolized since the 1980's out there, in front of me, doing music I'd always listened to on LPs and then CDs...

Simon LeBon was still saucy. Andy Taylor was still wild. John Taylor was still cool. Roger Taylor was still intense and serious. And Nick Rhodes was...well, still Nick Rhodes

It was the loudest, most energetic, most soaring experience I've ever had. I now feel like I have a piece of DD for my very own, one that nobody can ever take away from me. For two and a half hours (don't tell me they don't give value for money!) I was part of thier world, and they gave me back in equal measure.

Duran Duran is quite probably the best band...evar.

* A drop-dead gorgeous female backup singer in a tiny skirt. She had..those kind of legs. Yes, you know the kind. Use the standard joke.
* A fairly gory anime backup video for the song "Careless Memories". This had to be seen to be believed. The boys have always looked good. They were devastatng as manga-characters. Roger, in particular, throws a mean pair of cymbals. And, not only did they defeat ninja bad-guys, they brought down an alien invasion and Godzilla's second cousin.
* There is nothing at all like being able t sing the "Sha-la-la-la" intro to "The Reflex" with about 20,000 of your closest friends.
* 20-30 minute encores RAWK. Especially when they include "Rio" and "Girls on Film"
* I forgive Andy Taylor for trying to go off to be a solo guitar hero when he should have stuck with the band.
* Simon LeBon has a dry wit. He duly informed the house that John Taylor doesn't play bass, he plays 'f**king bass'. What is that? Well, it's an excuse for him to lead the house in a chant of 'play that f**king bass, John, play that f**king bass, John..."
* Simon can carry off "The Chauffeur" with panache. That and a black coat and a black cap. Sizzling.

My ears should stop ringing by this time tomorrow.

Damn. Those boys can put on a show!!!

10 March 2005

[us_politics] The Government Taketh Away

The Bankruptcy Act passed, as expected.

But...74 to 24? There are a lot more faithless Democratic Senators than I thought there were.

Ron Wyden voted the right way (no). He stands for the taxpayer first.

Gordon Smith voted the Right way (yes). He stands for the Republicans and money first, and then maybe the taxpayer. Maybe.

Click this link to go straight to the roll call vote pages at senate.gov to see the Hall Of Fame (nay voters) and the Hall Of Shame (yea voters).

Oh, and get the want ads out and start lining up those second and third jobs to get those credit cards paid off.

I'm serious. This means you.

[design] The SunDial Graphic Arts Company, Founded 10 March 2005

Hot off the HP 6110 all-in-one, a freelance contract to do technical editing for Pariah Burke's upcoming book on Adobe Illustrator, to be published by Pearson Education.

I plan on reviewing it, signing it, and sending it back within the next 24 hours. But it's really sinking in now. Anticipation, intimidation, excitement, and acheivement in equal measure.

The future arrives, today.

[or_powerplayers] The PUC Denies TPG

Just heard on KPOJ 620: the Public Utilities Commission has denied Texas Pacific Group's endeavor to annex PGE.

I'll leave the details to others. In the meantime, those of you who hate Enron and Texas and greedy graspers who want to make thier livings off your backs can do the happy dance.

[tech] Gmail For The Asking

I have 25 Gmail invites available for the asking. First 25 followups to this posting gets one.

09 March 2005

[sundial_life] We Have A Date With The Fab Five

No, not the Queer Eye fellas. Think back to the 80's.

Tomorrow night at eight o'clock, when the lights go up at the Rose Garden, me and The Wife[tm] will be there, having the fun we should have had when we were still in High School.

I will be able to say that I have seen Duran Duran live.

Section 220, seats in the O row.

No, it's not the floor, but from where i come from, you're thankful for what you can get, and spend little (if any) time regretting what you can't reach for. And that means being thankful for, as long as you had to wait to get some idea that the funding was even likely, you didn't have to settle for 300 level.

08 March 2005

[us_politics] I Expect Them To Bring Back Debtors Prison Anytime Now

By now it's well known that the appalling and Newspeak-ly named "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005" will be put to a vote sometime in the next day or two on the Senate floor where, conventional wisdom says it will pass.

Thanks to this legislation, one of the biggest things you will not have to worry about is that Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be effectively elilminated for you as a refuge if lingering unemployement or catastrophic health problems beggar you utterly. Some principled stands were taken, however. Senator Durbin, Democrat of Illinios, introduced an amendment with the laudatory and reasonable aim of giving protection to servicemembers (you know, the military...the troops we all are supposed to be supporting?)

Well, that was defeated, 58 to 38. Supporting the troops is fine as something you are expected to do. When it comes to a US Senator, well...there you go.

There was an amendment, introduced by Senator Kennedy (D-Mass, or D-Hell, if you're a R) that had the aim of exempting people who were beggared by horrendous medical debt from the means test. Given that a good deal of the Chapter 13's emanate from this cause, not from spendthrifty irresponsiblity (that's the marketing angle), you'd think that that is also a reasonable thing to do. You'd be wrong, silly taxpayer. Defeated, 58 to 39.

There was also an amendment from Senator Dayton of Minnesota, that would limit the interest rate you can be charged to a measly 30%. Defeated. 74 to 24.

This is being marketed to you all as an attack on irresponsible borrowers. This is hypocrisy. Most bankruptcies aren't a result of people spending without limit and not thinking of the consequences. Rather, they are a result of a shaky economy and people having to exaust savings and credit to get through periods of unemployment and serious illness-in other words, things that can happen to any of us...you, me, anyone.

Oh, you'll sit there and think you have all your dux in ero and they won't ever come for you remember that life is perverse, and in this economy you could be out of work tomorrow. And the job you find after that will pay less and you won't have insurance. And the people who make the laws you have to live by live in a bubble where they are all prosperous and doing well and they think everybody else is that way too. I mean, it's either that, or they hate poor people and want to kick them when they're down.

And how did Oregon's only real Senator, Wyden, vote?

Well, he gets two out of three. He did not object to the usury cap.

However, in the greater scheme, he did something I admire quite a bit. The motion called cloture, which ends substantive debate on all amendments, is what essentially sets the stage for vote on the bill. And Wyden voted against cloture, which regrettably passed 69 to 31.

Follow this link to the US Senate page which lists the roll call. The yeas are the Senators who voted for you and your interests. The nays are the Senators who voted to allow creditors to roll over you until you explode like a rotten banana.

Overall I'm pleased with Wyden on this, but he'd better have a damned good reason for voting against usury caps.

And I'd suggest the lot of you go out and get second jobs to pay off those credit cards. After this bill passes, your gonads will belong to them.

Oh, and read this page at Talking Points Memo, which explains, cogently and succintly, why you should Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid[tm applied for].

[design] The First Professional Thing

I don't know how far I have which toe in what door, but I've done something right.

Pariah Burke, of whom I've mentioned before in this ongoing chronicle, is making a book on Adobe Illustrator CS. He pitched the book to Sam's Publishing and they asked me to review his proposal.

That was flattering enough. And I got two free computer books for my trouble, which is, as anyone who has tech will tell you, always cool.

Well, it goes to the next level. I have just been asked to be technical editor on that book

This is amazing. I feel like the ugly duckling that got invited to the party.

It won't make me rich. But it will pay most of a mortgage payment. And that's not the whole point either. Being able to contribute to the success of someone I admire, helping spread knowledge on a good bit of software. And, yes, of course, it'll look good amongst my still scanty curriculum vitae.

But one has to start somewhere. And I have nothing but gratitude for this good fortune.

[art, meme] The Good Ship O-Zone

I am absolutely obsessed with the airplan in the O-Zone video for Dragostea Din Tei. That is the coolest plane I've ever seen in my life.

I am going to make drawings of it. Absoluely have to. First the sketchbook, then do them up in Adobe Illustrator, I think. I'd like to make a 3D model of it, but I have no line on any modeling programs right now, and certainly no time to learn to use them.

[design] QwestDex Returns Local Color To Directories

Once upon a time, not so long ago (or was it...never mind), the phone company liked to dress up the yearly phone book by including a local scenically appropriate picture. When I was but a neat thing, back in Silverton, the company was Continental Telephone of the Northwest (which was also the reason a call to far-off Mount Angel, at a distance of four miles, was long distance, but never mind that now) and they provided some farm scene or forest scene or South Silver Creek falls scene (that's the one you usually see on postcards) on the adorable, slim (complete with hole poked through in the upper left to hang from a bit of string by the phone) directories.

This was phased out sometime in the '80's, when a more utilitaran and typographic approach was decided on. all Helevetica and American Typewriter.

This year, though, QwestDex returns local color...or maybe local duotone...to directory covers with this gem:

Clicky upon it to see it bigger. BTW, it's copyrighted by whoever the 7734 owns it, I get no money for displaying it. Never mind that now.

The photo, which is actually quite cleverly integrated with the QuestDex cover design style, is of the Gresham Central MAX Station. It's a nice touch, I think, and an example of what happens when design can be used to impart a local flavor and style to things. It's tied to our surroundings, and no matter what you think of Gresham, you have an emotional connection to the object, a sort of hometown feeling that's really missing from daily life these latter years.

And, for now, that's the design view from Baja Gresham.

06 March 2005

[meme_victim] Life Is What Happens Between Playings of Dragostea din Tei

Well, it's true. This one's gotten under my skin, and bad.

First, I see the Numa Numa Dance. Hey, I think, that's a catchy tune. What's it called...Ah. Dragostea din Tei, by the Romanian boy-dance-group O-Zone.

Well, what the hey, it's 99 cents. How far wrong can you go? And, whadyano, it is pretty good...relentless bass line, with a tasty, anthemy chorus that I just can't resist.

Oh, hey, what's that? A video? Cool. Let's check it out.

This is a bit about the O-Zone video of Dragostea din Tei.

This thing is all about moving and keeping it moving. We are apparently getting to see into the dream of one of the guys. There's a futuristic cityscape, and flashes of comic-style art like on the album cover. The guys run to a plane, and take off as the song powers up...

This is one fantastic plane. A fanciful combination of dance floor, all topped with a red "ON AIR" sign projecting out the top. The POVs of the video have insight into motion and mood that I've not seen since Russell Mulcahy's Duran Duran work back in the 80's

Comic-book scenes play tag with live-action scenes. The O-Zone guys pop up in surreal roles...cyborg with flower-behind-the ear, government agent, alien in a lab, costumed crime-fighter, Freddy Krueger, and then dissolve right back into thier
live-action selves. Then, just as the second go of the chorus gives out and we go to the bridge, with a load of a CD into a PowerMac and the pull of a couple of levers in the cockpit, the two inside fanjets transmogrify into the largest subwoofers the world has ever seen...with no apparent change in the plane's performance.

Those Airbus chappies can teach the Boeing boys a thing or two, I think.

The plane recedes into the distance, great solid waves of concentric sound radiating from the great speakers.

Then the dream ends. The fellow wakes up to one of his bandmates sketching out a storyboard or cartoon, with the band on a special plane.

All talk about this being fluff aside for the moment, whoever came up with the sounds and the video images understand one thing very well: how to come up with a tune makes you want to get up and get down to it, and how to compose video that compels. The video just seems to give more each time you watch it.

And I got this meme bad, folks. I mean, bad.

03 March 2005

[TV] Space:1999 Reference Seen In Fox TV's 24

We don't watch much television...but we do like The Adventures of Jack Bauer, a/k/a 24

Those who watched this last show know that Jack Bauer attempted to take down the main bad guy on the 29th floor of a downtown LA Office building. He was working on a 'net connection in the offices of a company called "IDS Systems".

Calling all Gerry and Sylvia Anderson fans, and those who loved Space:1999. Look reeeeal close at the logo of IDS Systems. There were fleeting looks, but one or two were clear enough to be seen even on jittery VHS pause.

The letters "IDS" were reversed out of a strange looking pattern...that bugged me. Until I recognized it.

It's a silhouette of the plan view of Moonbase Alpha.

Betcha I'm right. And the world heard it here first.


02 March 2005

[net_life] Dragostea Din Tei

More on the song that inspired Numa Numa Dance

First, I realize that I was remiss in not including a link to it so that anybody who fell down this little hole would know where to see the Gary Boelsma masterwork.

The best place to see it would be at NewGrounds, this link will take you directly to the page that hosts the video. Click on WATCH THIS MOVIE! to have it load. I recommend the version without subtitles...the version with subtitles is okay, but you keep looking at both the image and subtitles and you miss the performance. View "Orignal Version" with care; there are flashes of still images which suggest a dark side to the comedy, some images will leave you scratching your head, others are just on the edge of workplace and family-room safe, and there is a quick glimpse of a bit of adult language.

Now, the song. I must correct myself: It's not a folk-pop song, but a rock-dance tune. The title is Dragostea Din Tei (as previously noted), and it's by a Romanian band called "O-Zone". You can get it at iTunes Music Store, and I recommend this if only because you get some cool cover art for the album DiscO-Zone, which it comes out of. At 99 cents, that's cheap at twice the price, and iTunes works on both Mac and Wintel, so you've no excuse.

The lyrics are Romanian, de course. You can find complete lyrics to the song , for the nonce anyway, here. Romanian is a very interesting language to listen to and to read. I don't think I've seen vowels ever have so much fun playing around.

Damn catchy song. It's a dance tune, so you can't help but tap your foot to it, and it's got that bouncy, EuroVision-song-contest beat that sounds like ABBA with a bit more of a techno polish, you know, the kind that says you really want to listen, don't you?


01 March 2005

[net_life] Yes, I Have Seen Numa Numa Dance

Yes, it's true, I have. After hearing it on Franken I couldn't resist.

Now, normally I don't write too much about trends. This is a lightly visited 'blog, which gives me some freedom, and I know if it's really really trendy, someone else can take up the slack that doesn't really need me to take up anyway.

But, gman250...wow. That's the funniest, goofiest, best thing I've seen in a long time.

Of course, I've followed the story as many others have. Found that he was so intimidated by his 15 minutes' time that he's kind of caved in. Quite a few commentators have said that it's sad that he's reacted so, and I agree.

Not that I'd dream of telling him he shouldn't react any differently than he is. He's an authentic sort. But I do wish he'd see that he's brightened the day of a hell of a lot of people by letting his guard down and getting goofy wi'it. After all, these are kind of dark times we're living in, and I know this when I compare them to the bright comic light this give off.

I mean, it's genius, really. Take a silly act, combine it with a Romanian folk-pop song nobody outside of Wallachia has ever heard of (for the record, it's Dragostea Din Tei, translated as "Love from the Linden Trees", and hey, it's available on iTunes, man!) and the world laughs with you. I lose it when it raises the eyebrow twice with the squeeky noise.

We need more silly people. Desparately.

Gary Boelsma, man, thanks for the joke. Don't let it get you down. We think you're cool.

Yea, I know, like he's gonna read my 'blog....