10 June 2011

[liff] Finally, A Holiday Me (and every Graphic Designer) Can Get Behind!

2637.Who knew … June 10th is none other than National Ball Point Pen Day

Of course, you could celebrate with a Bic Stic or one of those blue clicky-pens, but for me, there's only one true love …

Pilot Precise V5. Black ink, baby. Because, as some sage once concepted my direction, one should only write in pencil when sick in bed or on a train.

I can't explain that, either, but it makes sense on the ineffable level, where things are basically not effed, or something.


07 June 2011

[liff] Dymaxion Chronofile: The Ultimate Diary

2636.I have been additcted on various levels since high school of writing a diary. It must be said that right now that compulsion is tending toward a maximum, which is neither here nor there for anyone else but fairly joyous for me; also, there are levels of doing this. I'd like to be doing it a bit more; I tend to be distracted by shiny things and life events. 

If one asked oneself who the most dedicated diarist is, what would they say? Pepys, I'd imagine. I think there's one who kicked it up to the next level, thought, and that'd be the legendary Buckminster Fuller, a man who never did anything by halves.

And so it is with his journal, or, as he coined it, his Dymaxion Chronofile. In it he pretty much saved everything - newspaper clippings, photos, pictures, correspondence, reciepts, business transaction records. Originally it was kept as a series of leather-bound scrapbooks, but eventually due to centrifugal pressures such as storage, economics, and suchlike was simply filed in boxes.

The purpose of it all was to create a study of a life in context. Knowing what happened during certain times and viewing what Bucky saved within the scope of them would, I'd presume, generate some insight as to how a human responded to his surroundings, how he changed them and how they changed him, for starters.

Today, we'd call them lifeloggers or, if it were me, hoarder. Whatever. There may be lifeloggers out there … but they are certainly no Buckminster Fuller, who was smarter than just about everyone I've ever known (no offense, everyone I've ever known).

Here's something about the Chronofile from the Stanford University collection: http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/spc/fuller/about.html,  and this link will take you to a Google image search with the appropriate keywords. About four rows down is, for some bizarre reason, a photo of Sarah Palin. I don't know why either. Sometimes you just have to savor the irony. 

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[or_history] Oregon's First Newspaper Was Also Handwritten

2635.While The Musalman may be the only calligraphed newspaper left anywhere on Earth so far as anyone knows, a particularly well-hidden treat of Oregon history predates even that. And it was strictly handwritten.

History mavens may think of Oregon's first pape as the Oregon Spectator, published in Oregon City from the mid 1840s through the mid 1850s. I was as surprised as anyone to find out that that's not entirely correct. That honor goes to a tri-weekly which only put out all of twelve issues, and went by the rather zany name of The Flumgudgeon Gazette and Bumble Bee Budget, which apparently predated the Spectator by a couple of years (it took about that long to ship a letterpress from New York in the mid-19th Century). Entirely handwritten by one Charles Edward "Philosopher" Pickett, although his handful of readers knew him by the name "Curltail Coon".

It wa apparently timed to irritate the Oregon Territorrial Legislature and legend has it that it did so despite its small circulation - handwriting a tri-weekly and getting it printed had to be quite a onerous task and one with manifest production limits.

The whole story (or as much as is extant) can be found at this page: http://www.offbeatoregon.com/H1007a_flumgudgeon.html, a part of the much larger Offbeat Oregon History site, which is a treat in and of itself which was just revealed to me.

H/T and big-time thanks to Dave Strom (twittah)

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06 June 2011

[design] Quite Possibly The Only Handwritten Newspaper On The Planet

2634.In Chennai, India, there's a 4-page newspaper with a circulation of about 22,000. It's in Urdu, and its layout engine is pen and ink.

Called The Musalman (which, if I understand correctly, kind-of translates to "the Mohammedan" or maybe "the Muslim"), is a general-interest paper with local and international news. It's an evening daily paper.

In a corner of a rather small office, four calligraphers or katibs work about four hours each to turn out the four pages every day. The office employs Hindu as well as Muslim creeds and men as well as women. This is a 10-minute mini-documentary about it that shows the staff in action, ink flowing for the love of the art, and the passion for a news paper that serves and cares for all its audience:


The most inspiring word was said by the current editor, who explains that they could perhaps go computerized like their competition, but the heart of The Musalman is the calligraphy, and without the heart, what would be the point?

There is a great gallery mounted by Wired magazine here: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/multimedia/2007/07/gallery_calligraphers as well Wikipedia's article about it here. Also, if you do an image search on Musalman you'll get this display.

All very passionate and very, very elegant. Very human. 

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[world] Confirmed: 3 Melted Down Reactors at Fukushima Dai'ichi

2633.I'm going way off topic for this one, because like most of us here in the Willamette Valley and western Oregon, the status of the Fukushima Dai'ichi site (it's kind of hard to call it a "power plant" these days) is at the back of our minds, even though we don't show it here. We have to get through each day.

But it was just announced that what has so-far seemingly been soft-pedaled and suspected all along is correct: Fukushima units 1, 2, and 3 have actually suffered meltdowns.

I wonder how much of northern Honshu is about to be declared uninhabitable? They don't have huge spaces like they did about Chernobyl', that they could exclude someone. And this looks like it's going to be worse than that.

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