31 December 2004

[sundial_life] It's The Last Day Of The Year...

...but to those of us who usually work holidays, it's just one more day at the office.

Just a little bit suckier.

30 December 2004

[pdx_life] Pareidolia

The Peninsula-that area of Portland between the Willamette and Columbia rivers, mostly west of Williams Avenue-looks just like an upturned thumb. Especially when you take in the curve of the south bank of the Columbia running alongside PDX.

[world_distasters] The Spin Of The World, The Tilt Of The Poles

I've left off any commenting on the Indian Ocean quake and tsunami distaster, since any comment I'd have to make would be trite anyway. Suffice it to say I've been boggled as everyone else, and in my own way I've said a prayer for the dead and for the survivors.

News on the quake's effect, in the physical science world, has been interesting, however. The quake, moment magntude 9.0, was the most violent since the 9.2 "Good Friday" Alaskan quake of 1964. The event caused detectable changes in the planet: The terrestrial rotation was sped up by about 3 microseconds, and the planet exhibited a wobble-a change in the tilt of the axis-of about 1 inch.

It kind of sounds scary. However, when put it context it becomes very insignifcant. While the rotation of the plant sped up by 3 micosec, tidal drag from the Moon actually slows terrestrial rotation by 15 microsec/year. Natural forces stand to cancel that change out in mere weeks. And, that's not all: while an axial variation of 1 inch (2.5 cm) was recorded, it is dwarfed by a natural ongoing polar oscillation called the Chandler wobble, which varies anywhere from about 10 to about 160 feet (9 to 30 metres).

Source:Wikipedia article at this link.

[nw_politics] NOW They Stand on Principle

The continuing drama of the Washington gubernatorial recount is highly amusing.

You see, when Rossi was called the winner, he and his campaign were big big BIG on getting the results finalized and out of the way. In a perfect world, that would be no issue at all. This, though is not that world. This is a world where the Rossi campaign will go to court to prevent legitimate votes which fell through the cracks from being counted-because they were in King County, which was likely to vote for Gregoire-and the number of found ballots were enough to take his razor-thin lead away.

Then, it didn't matter that a couple of hundred citizen's voices wouldn't be heard despite the fact that nothing made thier ballots invalid. The election was over, as he'd seen it, he won, and that was that.

Fortunately for what's left of the integrity of the voting process in America, the Washington courts saw it differently. And fortunately for Gregoire, the votes did go her way. She is to be certified today.

Now it would seem that Rossi and his campaign have found religion. Now, to them, every vote counts. Noble positions, conveniently held.

To today's Repbulican party, it isn't important that the process runs unimpeachably. It's what's good for the party that counts; as long as they're winning, it's all good, if they're losing, then it's taken as read that somebody is screwing around.

Now Rossi is actually calling for a rerun of the election. Gregiore is justified in disregarding (though our Republican-friendly media is quick to paint it as "balking at") any such call. If there were indications of possible wide scale-or any scale, really-fraud and malfeasance, then I'd be right along there with him.

But Washington isn't Ukraine, and Rossi sure as 7734 isn't Yushchenko.

Gregiore legitimatly won by a nose in a legitimately-run recount. Rossi should concede. Anything else is sore-losery.

[pdx_transit] Line 9 Returns To The Broadway Bridge

According to a Rider Alert just deposited in my inbox, completion of two years of work and reopening of the Broadway Bridge to full traffic also brings back the line 9-Broadway.

Until now, the 9 has routed down N/NE Williams Avenue, through the Rose Quarter Transit Center, and into the downtown transit spine via NW Everett and Glisan Streets. With the Broadway Bridge fully open, routing will return to Broadway and Weidler on the east side of the river west of Williams and NW Broadway running up to the bridge past Union Station.

Detials can be found at this link.

[pdx_life] Another Bit Of Wrestling History

...Can be fount at http://www.playboybuddyrose.com/

Go. Visit it. You know you want to.

28 December 2004

[pdx_media] KPTV:Portland Broadcast Titan

I've just found out about a marvelous site dedicated to the history of one of the greatest TV stations there ever was or maybe ever will be.

Click here to go to Yesterday's KPTV.

This is a very loving tribute to the local, friendly, slightly quirky "Northwest Personality Station" that was KPTV Channel 12. Descending from the very first television broadcast in Portland to the day when it became "Fox 12 Oregon" and the Fox network sucked the last bit of personality out of it, it defined local broadcasting for about two generations. It was where you could watch Star Trek before it became a phenomenon, where Perry Mason has run afternoons, continuously, about fifty years, where names like Addie Bobkins, Ramblin Rod, and Rusty Nails entertained year after year of kids before they trundled off to school, where the evening news happened at 10pm, and where Lars Larson worked back when he really was defending the little guy.

It was also where modern professional wrestling got its start; happy memories of Portland Wrestling, from the Portland Sports Arena, with Frank Bonema, at midnight on Saturday, remain with me still.

I highly recommend the station logo gallery. It's great!

So go there, and live the memory of Portland television, when it had class and style.

27 December 2004

[pcc_life] The Comeback Kid Pulls It Through!

I note that I haven't bragged about my school performance, as other local 'bloggers have (and most rightly so). Well, here's mine:

Watercolor 1 A
Life Drawing A
Intro Dreamweaver A

Three classes, but a 40 hour workload. I know some of you can relate here.

What thrills me about this is that I did it with a week and a half size crater blown out of my term right about the middle due to a serious cellulitis infection (ask me if you want to know what that is and why it sux0rs; I've written about it before. Suffice it to say that I'm still healing from it, two months later).

There are two more terms to complete my Graphic Design degree-chasing experience. This term there are only two classes, requirement filling; Geography of Oregon, and Computer Concepts I (curiously classified as 'physical science' by PCC). CC1 is a 'web based course, so I'll only be going to campus one day a week unless I have a need or a want. and I won't be fighting morning or (potentially) evening traffic.

The end has hove in over the near horizon. Enjoy it whilst I can; after this May, I have to behave as a professional.

[blog_life] Hello to Pril

Just came up with a link to Nth of Pril. I like everything about it. I like the enigmatic name, I like the blogger, I like her attitude, and she plays bass, which is the l3373st instrument evar.

She's also left some of the best comments on this extremely minor 'blog.

The Times is honored by Pril's presence; We Are Not Worthy[tm].

26 December 2004

[design_tools] More From Quark-PSD Import

It's not been long since I had my upgraded QuarkXPress 6.5 that Quark announced the availability of another XTension.

XTtensions, for those who just joined the discussion or don't know what the samhey I'm talking about, are plug-in software modules. QuarkXPress does a whole lot on its own, but its full functionality is delivered through numerous XTensions, which add functions and either menu-items or new palettes to the basic interface.

The first notable XTension is QuarkVista, which provides a palette containing Photoshop-style filters and effects to XPress. This is notable because, formerly, it was necessary to load your image into an appropriate image geeker (Photoshop usually), edit it, and save it back out to disk if you wanted to change a picture in your layout.

That is, if using QuarkXPress. Adobe's InDesign allowed direct import of .psd files (Photoshop document) without having to reedit and resave to, say, .tiff or .eps format outside of InDesign. The CS releases feature even tighter integration.

This release is the next anticipated semi-big thing from Quark. PSD Import does just what it says-you can import PSD files as they are, without having to save them as an alternative file format like .tiff, .jpg, .gif, what have you. But that's not all. The PSD Import palette, which is the XTension's manifestation within the XPress interfact, features tabs that reveal subpalettes that are more or less identical to Photoshop's Layers, Channels, and Paths palettes, as well as allowing limited editing of those attributes and blending modes.

That already was a kind of half-review as it was. I have two planned for writing and posting to the Yahoo! GDRG (and QuarkVSInDesign, if Pariah'll have me), and they have yet to be done. SO.....

Hang on for the full report.

Suffice it to say that this cements, at least with me, a reputation of Quark as recognizing that, to survive, or at least to remain a big player, it has to answer InDesign. After all, it has in-program image geeking and native Photoshop import...

Which are two features that InDesign (and especially the CS release) have had for years now.

23 December 2004

[design_tools] We Finally Get The QuarkXPress 6.5 Update

Two days ago an unassuming little CD-ROM mailer arrived here, with a return address of "Quark Distribution" in Cheyenne, Wyoming (so, that's where quarks come from...Wyoming...). In it were two CD-ROMs:

1) Quark XPress 6.1 updater
2) Quark XPress 6.5 updater.

Now, I already have the 6.1, thanks for the extra CD, Quark, but the 6.5 is what I've been on the lookout for.

QuarkXPress 6.5 brings several new features. What I think many have had thier eyes on, however, is the 'QuarkVista' XTension software, which adds in-program image manipulation-common filters and adjustments such as Gaussian Blur, posterization, levels, selective color, unsharp mask-many other items which users of Photoshop-class programs are well familiar with. They are said to be 'nondestructive', that is, they affect how Quark sees the files but do not work on the files themselves.

The question is, will QuarkVista and the changes 6.5 bring keep users interested in QuarkXPress, make them feel as though they're getting value for money for a seat, and look forward to the notional QuarkXPress 7.0, rumored to be due out within the next 18 months?

I'll play with it and let everyone know. In the meantime I've realized one benefit-I now have 30 new Linotype Library OpenType fonts, free for being a registered XPress user. Not to be sneezed at.

[nw_politics] See Where A Recount Will Get You

Well, how about that...going from a win of 42 votes, Dino Rossi lost the Washington Governor's race by about 130. Congratulations, Christine Gregoire!

Of course, now that the Republicans have lost one on recount, expect more court dates. Give the Washington Supreme Court credit, though; it's not the voters' fault those lost ballots fell through the cracks. I'd of wanted mine to be counted regardless. Anything else is disenfranchisement.

And the Republicans weren't challenging those ballots in the interest of fairness. They were challenging them because they would most likely tilt the tally in the direction of Gregiore. Which they did.

22 December 2004

[pdx_life] TriMet To Add Direct Downtown-To-Sellwood Service

Months ago, when the Sellwood Bridge was diagnosed as being too worn-out to allow vehicles of over 10 tons to use, many large vehicle classes lost out. There was significant worry and debate an absolute ban would have placed the Sellwood-Westmoreland area beyond fast fire and emergency response, as the Fire Bureau station on SE Bybee Boulevard at SE 23rd Avenue was under remodeling at the time, and the original plan would have cut Sellwood off from the nearest fire station, on SW Taylor's Ferry Road near SW Terwilliger Boulevard–across the river and up the hill, in Burlingame.

That worry was evenutally assuaged. But one casualty was direct TriMet service to central Sellwood. The TriMet line 40-Tacoma, which ran down SE Tacoma Street and SE McLoughlin Boulevard on its way from downtown via Johns Landing to its ultimate destination, the Milwaukie Transit Center. This route has served Sellwood in that form for decades (also in its original guise as the 40-Johns Landing line). The weight restrictions on the bridge severed this long time link, relegating Sellwood to a status not even Forest Grove has-only reachable by transfer.

Actually, that move was to TriMet's credit. The 70-12th Avenue, a longtime crosstown route with a good amount of service, already serviced the Milwaukie Avenue-SE 13th Avenue-SE 17th Avenue area. What TriMet did was establish the Sellwood Shuttle, a route that more thoroughly served the 13th Avenue-"Antique Row" area and connected with the rest of the route net at the big transfer point at SE Milwaukie Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

But from that time, Sellwood all direct connections to the central core-until now.

Today, in this Rider Alert, the transit agency announces two system enhancements. The first is the new line 41-Tacoma, a route that runs from downtown, down Grand/MLK and McLoughlin Boulevard, west on SE MIlport Road, north on SE 17th Avenue, west on SE Linn Street, north on SE 13th Avenue, then east on SE Tacoma Street, returning to downtown via McLoughlin Boulevard.

The new 41-Tacoma only runs Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., though. To provide greater access during all hours of the service day, the line 70-12th Avenue has been enhanced with more early and late service. The first Milwaukie-bound bus leaves Rose Quarter at 5:37 a.m., and the last leaves Rose Quarter at 12:50 a.m., arriving Milwaukie TC at 1:07 a.m. This leaves Sellwood at the end of a transfer during off-peak and weekends, but is better than before, and the changes seem very prudent.

The old line 40-Tacoma has regained its historic name of 40-Johns Landing, and terminates at the downtown Lake Oswego TC.

21 December 2004

[pdx_life] Hollister, Ives, and jimmyhollister.com

Every time I think I've spoken my last on the late Jimmy Hollister, it seems something else comes up.

For one, his old partner, Victor Ives, has established a 'web presence, www.jimmyhollister.com. It's starting small; there are a few pictures of thier television appearances, including three shots of the 1987 Sinister Cinema reunion. Ravenscroft even got the big chair in one. There are a few appearances on KATU-2 that I unfortunately missed whilst young.

He was kind enough to link to my original Jimmy Hollister tribute entry. It's on the Links/Media subpage, click on "One Listener's Reaction".

In one of those bittersweet ironies that qualify the two-sided coin that is human existence, Victor was preparing the website as a present for his long-time friend and performing partner at the time of his death. Jimmy will get the memorial he so richly deserves, from one of those who knew him best.

Absoluetly not to be missed is an audio clip of a bit they did called "Breakfast with the Barclays", which is on the main page at present (dialup customers heads-up: it's about 5.2 MB big). In some of thier best moments, the sit-down comedy team of Hollister and Ives paid homage to the wry, somewhat dry, sometimes corny but always hilarious radio tradition whose best examples were Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding-Bob and Ray, another one of the great acts of 20th century American comedy.

Ray Goulding may not ring any bells amongst the new moderns, but Bob Elliott's son should be known to everyone: he's comedian and actor Chris Elliott (Bob even played his father in some episodes of Chris's surreal comedy series Get A Life!).

Victor Ives has also stayed active in media. He has a committment to old-time radio that could only be that of a fan who's had the opportunity and resources to produce programs with that theme, and has done so for quite some time. His
show Golden Age of Radio has been popular since the 1980's, and still is broadcast in rerun form on USA Radio Network. He has a CV of sorts at www.victorives.com, with links at the bottom of the page so Ives fans can keep up on his career.

You know those actors who cut an interesting presence and then seem to disappear, but really have moved on behind the scenes creating, directing, and producing? They come up with good stuff but you wonder where they've gone. Victor Ives seems like that. For instance, KWBP-32, the local WB station? Victor helped found that. Things like that.

20 December 2004

[design] Woo-hoo! Scandal! InDesign Page-lay-outer uses Quark XPress!

I like cruising the Quark, Inc. website from time to time. For whatever faults Quark and its flagship program, XPress, has, the site is well-designed.

I mean, it'd better be.

Anyway, part of the new, more human, face of Quark (and designers everywhere know whereof I speak) is a sassy little e-newsletter called (wait for it)...Quark Particles (wait, wait...aren't quarks themselves particles? And...oh, ne'mind...). Its rather...studied...irreverence and casualness is rather dear.

Follow this link for an ab-so-lutely scathing article by thier semi-anonymous Editor (semi-anonymous meaning that "Editor" prob'ly isn't his/her real name, but it is a name) documenting how a person composing an InDesign manual actually uses Quark! Wow!

Quick reality check.

InDesign is still the minority platform. Getting to be a rather large minority, but still.

Also, many many printers still insist on a Quark-based workflow. Remember the maxim: Never underestimate an installed base.

So, chances are, many many documents are being composed with Quark. Even, ironically, manuals about InDesign!

Surprise factor: naught.

Like I said: studied irreverence. So dear!

[pdx_airwaves] One More Note About Jimmy Hollister

A dear correspondent has pointed out to me something I"ve noticed that's really kind of sad.

A few days ago, long time Portland radio personality Jimmy Hollister passed away in California. At least KEX put up an obit, but when I tried to Google it up, it wasn't there.

Shame on you, KEX.

For the better part of the last two years, Jimmy had a weekend show on KPAM. Not one single word on KPAM.

Double-shame on you, KPAM. But then a station that broadcasts Sean Hannity can't have all that much pride.

Jimmy provided a warm, friendly voice that caused me to fall in love with Portland and Portland radio when I was but a boy in Silverton. He deserves some due. Would it have hurt you all that much to have mentioned it with a little more reverence? Or at all.

But then that's the way it is, I guess. The Everyman who forms part of the glue that makes our mundane lives connect from moment to moment and gives it its special quality is usually not ever celebrated.

Well, I'll do it. Right here.

18 December 2004

[design, tools] Zehnkatzen in: Quest for Rapidoliners

It will be recalled that, in this post I went on at length with speculation on the future of the Rotring Rapidoliner disposable tech pen.

While I've not found any certain word on the status of the product, I've collected some interesting information along the way.

1: Pariah Burke mentioned that, at the Michael's Arts & Crafts store in Tualatin, Rapidoliners are still available by the each for about $16.00 (this is four dollars more than the Art Media price). There are also refills available (which, if they cost half the price of the full pen as they did at Art Media, then they'll be about $7.00 a toss). He also mentioned a possible mail-order source.

2: I found the Rotring International website. It's here. Click on Products, Drawing, Rapidoliner to see the corporate page about it. There isn't much about buying them except a link to contact the North American distributor.

3: Pril expressed dismay at the notional demise of the product. Word to Pril: I don't know if you saw my followup to your comment, but if you're using that pen for ten years, then I suspect what you have there is a Rapidograph, not a Rapidoliner. The former ususally has an off-white barrel and the cap screws on, the latter is dark red-brown with a red ring on the lower end and is not designed for naught but being discarded after being spent. The Rapidograph is not, as far as I can tell, on the verge of being consigned to the dustbin of art-material history.

Indeed, my reports of the demise of the Rapidoliner may be premature. I am still researching the subject, and will report my findings if, and when, they occur.

PS:Pril, I linked to ya. I must say I like the cut of your jib.

[pdx_airwaves] Portland Radio Air Check

I noticed that in the last day or so I got five hits with the search term "Jimmy Hollister". At least someone is interested; I was a little sad to find that not many people seemed to have many memories of Jimmy's broacasting life here in Portland, and irritated that there were never any details on his death.

Perhaps that means that he died of 'natural' causes. Oh, well.

That caused me to do a bit of a review of the airwaves subjects that have occupied my mind lately. Of the subjects I've pontificated about:

Victor Boc: Nothing new there.

KEX: still the most listenable of the old stalwarts. There are periods when I don't bother tuning over to 1190; fortunately I have other choices at those times. I find it also amusing that the tagline for the listing for Rush Limbaugh says "Be the most intelligent person in the room". I've known Limbaugh listeners, and intellect is never the impression I came away with. Opinionated, yes. That's not a substitute, however. Paul Linnman is ably following Bob Miller's act, and is worth listening to. I still enjoy Tom Martino, though a few nights ago he was promoting this nutritional-therapy doctor fellow who seemed close to quackery.

KPAM:Only two reasons to listen during the weekdays; Bob Miller and Clark Howard. Bob's act presumably hasn't changed much; since I ususally listen to Morning Sedition or Linnman I've never gotten into the Miller on KPAM habit. Clark Howard is, of the two major consumer advocates of the day (the other being Tom Martino) the happy warrior on the side of the little guy, and as opposed to Martino has a 'ducks-in-a-row' approach to protecting yourself.

KPOJ:My most-listened to station. I love Morning Sedition, Riley and Maron have real chemistry, and it takes wit and charm to keep laughing whilst they discuss what they discuss. Al Franken is my current hero, he and Katherine Lampher also have good chemistry and Al has really grown as a talk host. Al's in the theater right now on a USO tour, so Joe Conason is standing in for him. I like Ed Schultz's plain talk, and Randi Rhodes just rocks my world, no question about that. I don't listen to Majority Report as much as I'd like to, and Mike Malloy is most entertaing when in Righteous Anger mode–which, given the activities of the Bush administration, happens often. The only weakness is KPOJ local talent, which is limited to voices borrowed from the other Clear Channel station-KEX-to do the news on the "Northwest Radio News Network". It gives the station something of a 'branch-outlet' feel. But the KPOJ hosts usually mention Portland in fairly glowing terms. Maron was pleasantly astounded when a flock of Portland listeners drove up to Seattle when he did a recent gig, Franken is very good to us, Schultz thinks we rule, and Rhodes always speaks kindly of us. They say there's now 41 stars in the Air America constellation. Who says there's no percentage in telling the truth?

[pcc_life] A Grade-A Website

I tremendously enjoyed doing the PCC CAS111D (Dreamweaver) online course. The instructors were very responsive and helpful, and Peachpit Press is as good a textbook company as anyone could ask for. Replaced a defective CDRom, no questions asked.

Anyway, the website I designed impressed the instructor enough that he asked to include it on his website. Since flattery will get you everywhere with me, I said "hell yes".

Here's a link to my rather nice (if'n I say so myself) Portland Bridge tour:

Sam Klein's Guide to Portland's Bridges

If some things seem a little gratuitous, they are a bit...we were taught a set of basic web skills with Dreamweaver that we were expected to include. I chose multi-event rolloevers as my big marquee bit.

17 December 2004

[net_life] Amazing, Just Where the Times Will Pop Up.

I'll admit it, I'm a small-time fame slut. 'Strewth! every now and then I'll chuck zehnkatzen into Safari's Google search box just to see what comes up.

Suffice it to say I'm no b!X or Jack Bog. However, sometimes, I'll pop up in an unexpected place.


A site calling itself Discount Shopping Dance (tag line: Find it. Buy it. Dance.) has an excerpt and a link to my ZehnKatzen Times on a page of how-to-draw art books.

Me giving advice to people who I'll never meet! How 'net is that?

Anyway, here's the Link:

It's on the left, right across from a book with a red strip down the left hand edge called How To Draw the Human Figure, which I think is an august Walter Foster title. Look for "Lessons in Life Drawing". The print is kinda small.


16 December 2004

[design, tools] Rapidoliners No More?

I love Rotring Rapidoliners. Drafters, artists, and designers know what of what I speak.

For those of you who don't read on.

There is a wonderful tool called the technical pen. These are liquid-ink pens, with sophisticated nibs, that can draw lines of precise dimension. They have tubular points and the point is the dimension of the line. A weight with a wire leading down through the point not only keeps the tube clear but also gives the mechanical motion necessary to cause the ink to flow.

They are wonderful for drawing...and they absolutely must be cared for. A nib clogged by dried ink can be, at the very least, a pain to get clear. But for the quality of the line produced, it's worth the trouble.

The biggest worldwide maker of tech pens is the Rotring (pronounced wrote-RING, it's German and means red ring (think Blaupunkt, which means blue dot, and enough digressing)) company. It originated the famous "Rapidograph" line, of which an American version is made and marketed by Koh-I-Noor. Rotring "ArtPens" are widely available in craft and art-supply stores. And I'm digressiing again.

Tech pens can be expensive to acquire (if you want a better quality point than the steel) and, as mentioned, require maintenance. They've had an alternative, though, the "Rapidoliner". This is a limited range of point sizes (but the most used point sizes) designed to be discarded when done. The complete pen is a heavy plastic barrel and a long insert with a color-coled point (yellow is .35mm, blue .25mm, brown .50, etc). The refill insert is activated simply; remove a plastic spacer-ring, place the insert in the barrel, cap the pen and click it closed. This sends the point home into the ink reservior, activating the pen. Rattling the pen back and forth for a minute or so (a move I call the "Rapidograph shake") causes the ink flow to actually begin, and the pen can then be used. When the ink is exhausted, throw away the insert and get a new one.

Today at Art Media in Clackamas I was looking to replace my lost pens. I found just a handful left in a box marked "DISCONTINUED-50% OFF" and no more on the hangers, and nonoe of the .35mm-my favorite size.

One of the clerks there said he'd heard a lot of dismay over this; the Rapidoliners always sold well. He guessed that the manufacturer was ceasing production on them.

That's quite possible. Entering www.rotring.com into my browser takes me to the home page of "NewellRubbermaid", which seems to be a conglomerate which has done a great deal of aquisitions in the last few years. Rotring was acquired in 1998.
I can't find a corporate website devoted to anything having to do with any Rotring product

It looks as though that Rapidoliners are fading off into the sunset, which is a shame; there are fibre point and other sorts of solid-point pens out there. but there's nothing like drawing with real liquid ink. Finding a substitute for this will be a long search. Possibly fruitless; this is and was a one-of-a-kind product

[blog_life] Amit Explains Mystery Referrers

In a comment to my previous post "The BlogPatrol Report", I wondered aloud how I could get referrers that don't mention me in thier 'blogs anywhere. An astute Indian 'blogger (the sort of Indian who calls Delhi his capital city, that is), Amit Varma, resident of Mumbai (which is what most of America is probably not aware they're calling Bombay these days (crack a book, people!)) thankfully chimes in with the following:
"This happens when someone clicks on "next blog" on the blogger toolbar at the top, and they get taken to a random blog on blogspot. So these sites which supposedly "referred" you don't actually have a link to you, it's just someone clicking that button."

So that explains it. For those who aren't aware or don't usually visit blogger/blogspot, there is a Blogger bar that increases the functionality of it all. There is a Search box to search the individual 'blog (which rarely seems to work right), a "Blog This!" button, and on the far left, a "Get Your Own Blog" button and a "Next Blog" button.

They want to make it as easy as possible for you not only to put up your own sage work but also browse about for other blogs. I suppose the next step is to get census lists and put up blog sites for everyone, because...well, you just never know.

Anyway, that's how I got all those odd referrers. I still will post the most interesting from time to time, as I find the randomness of it all rather amusing and appealing.

Amit, by the way, has one of the sites that mysteriously referred to me: India Uncut, and another interesting site The Middle Stage. Both very interesting and worth a read.

[pdx_airwaves] Jimmy Hollister, resquiat in pacem

I heard over the radio, earlier this morning, about 03h or so, that Jimmy Hollister has passed away. Details are not yet available, the only thing being publicized about it being that he was in California at the time. Jimmy Hollister was 66 years old. Appropriately, I heard the news break on KEX.

He should be regarded as, if not an important part of Portland broadcast history, an important link and a remarkable player in that insular world. I first encountered Jimmy when I was but a neat thing in Silverton, Oregon, and I had gotten my first transistor radio (I'm no fossil, but yes, I got a radio back when the word transistor was part of the marketing). The first station I found was KEX-the 50,000 watt blowtorch of the Pacific Northwest. Barney Keep was the big name then.

Jimmy had a late evening show, if memory serves (and it may not), a two-person act with a gentleman named Victor Ives. Later, he was to replace Barney Keep (not that anyone ever really could) when he retired in the late '70s. By then I had found the wonderfulness that was FM radio of the time and I listened to AM less and less. By the time I'd returned to my AM habit-in the very late '80s, Jimmy was gone from the airwaves, at least around here.

In the meantime though Jimmy had become a fixture on the air...radio and television. See, for a good long time during that time, he and Victor Ives got together to host Portland's late-late-late-late, double-feature B-monster show, appropriately named Sinister Cinema. Lord, I cannot remember what was played, I just knew it was Godawful and that I loved to be scared by it. Victor played himself-or a dapper, urbane, slumming, Dracula-ish (without the Tronsylwayinan accent) vampire version of himself, and Jimmy played Ravenscroft-Victor's hunchbacked, mute companion, with a droop-eye that would have made Shannen Doherty look normal, if they were compared.

Latterly, at least up until 2003, Jimmy had a weekend gig on KPAM. He's not on the KPAM page any more...presumably, being 65, he probably tossed in the towel and headed off into the sunset.

I was just a little saddened by news of Jimmy's death. Certainly by now I understand there's no such thing as immortality; even I know I must someday pass on. But the real sad thing...aside from the loss of an old broadcasting stalwart...is the feeling that the world I grew up in is truly, at long last, beginning to fade into memory-or forgettery, as the case may be.

Goodbye, Jimmy. I hope you find all good things on the other side of the veil. I don't know about a lot of radio listeners, but I will sure miss you.

[design] Debut: QuarkVsInDesign.com

Designer Pariah Burke has finally debuted a site whose aim is to keep the design community (and anyone else who has any sort of interest in the situation) abreast of the battle between the design industry's top applications for dominiance.

QuarkVSInDesign.com is a labor of some considerable effort. It is a testament to how much news is going on in the design world that this site actually began as a category on his personal website, IAmPariah.com. Famously, it has registered the number one and number two hits on Google for the search term "Quark Sucks".

All four of my regular readers may wonder what the fuss is about. Rightly so. What goes on in the design industry is not exactly a general interest topic. But the struggle between Quark, Inc, and Adobe Systems for king of the layout application hill is just as big, in its way, as the struggle between Ford and General Motors for control of the automobile market. Name any two big names in consumer goods that are waging an all-out war for the attention and dollars of the public at large, and the one between Adobe and Quark looms just as large in the high-priced world of design.

In one corner is Quark, which rested on its laurels as the winner of the Quark/PageMaker fight (which PM lost by resting on its laurels), who is playing catch up, offering in-program photo geeking with QuarkVista. In the other is Adobe, who stands for innovation, not dominating the field yet, but unrelenting in its improving InDesign. The CS version has turned heads in a major way, and more and more workflows are going over to it.

Will Quark stanch the flow of customers to Adobe? Will Adobe win? Will Quark, in its desperation to defend its position, actually wind up looking and acting like InDesign?

The answers are not yet. But the story, on QuarkVsInDesign.com, will be one to follow.

[blog_life] The BlogPatrol Report

In which I will, at random intervals, post links that BlogPatrol says are referrers to my 'blog but have no mention of me or my 'blog in them.

Here are the links. Follow them...if you dare. You are on your own, seeker.

1. http://helpmecook.blogspot.com/
2. http://battlestardream.blogspot.com/2004/11/i-need-opinion.htm
3. This one's a real head-scratcher:http://indiauncut.blogspot.com/
4. So's this one:http://livingwordag.blogspot.com/
5. http://gadfly01.blogspot.com/

And, for what it's worth, here's a few searches which pinged me that I find amusing:

"television appearances by enigma and katzen"
"meowth voting republican"
"victor boc fired kpam"
"examples of experimental typeography" (might of worked better if they knew how to spel)

And, the number one ping for now:
"sexy emma watson photos"

You know who she is, dont you? She's the little girl who's played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies up to now. Now, that kid, when she's grown, is going to be one gorgeous woman. When she's grown. Right now she's, what, in middle school (or whatever the hey it is in Great Britain)?

Ew, Ew, Ew. Stay away from my 'blog, whoever you are, or I'm calling the police on you next time. Wierdo.

[blog_life] Blog Worth A Look

Casting about for something to read whilst waiting on the Adobe InDesignCS point update to download (and at 16MB over a dialup link you know I've the time..after this I'm going to start cleaning up the garage), I hit upon the blog of a local who posts under the psuedonym Reformed Pope. It's called City Business Church and it is a rather irreverent report on the goings-on over at the City Bible Church, that huge salvic complex with the twin domes on the north flank of Rocky Butte. You can see it from I-205, best view is in the southbound lanes, coming from the airport.

This is a blog worth reading, IMO. I'm putting it in my links.

I was even moved to leave a comment. Blogger sucked it up and sent it on.

The next screen told me, in big black letters, Your Comment Has Been Saved.

God does move in mysterious ways.

14 December 2004

[sundial_life] This I Do For Me!

Glancing up at the timer I see I've been online for about 13 hours.

I haven't been able to do this for months!

Christmas Break rulz!

[pcc_life] It's A Wrap: Fall Term 2004

With the close of the last Watercolor class today, my Fall Term 2004 experience has come to a regretful close.

I've really had fun with this one. The three classes challenged me and I grew artistically, despite the battle with infection. That alone blew a huge crater in the middle of my term, and if it weren't for understanding instructors I don't think I would have made it.

Certainly the web-based Dreamweaver course helped.

Looking back, I can't say which of them I enjoyed more. Watercolor class actually got me to get out my dam' paints, which I have collected for quite some time (I am an inveterate collector of art matierials (yes, bizarre, I know)) and get them used! there is significant damage to my Alizarin Crimson and Cad Yellow Light, and many of the blues are looking quite used. There is a joy in looking at a watercolor box that has seen service. I now have a clue as to what to do when I get them out, and have lost the intimidation factor. I even use charcoal now (I still hate it).

Life drawing benefitted me greatly. Long ago I made the nai'ive statement to my The Wife[tm] that I'd "like to add light and shadow" to my line drawing. Well, my friends, the big epiphany is, there is no such thing as "line"...at least not the way most beginning artists think. Light defines shadow, and shadow gradates and defines itself, the light, and volume. Learning to see, truly see contrasts, areas of light and shadow, is the one true artistic skill. After that, color. But if you don't have a grasp of light and shadow, I don't really think you can really grow as an artist.

To have artistic talent or training, I am now convinced, carries with it the obligation to develop and grow it, or at least to exercise it in some way. It is an important thing that moves us from being worker drones to actual people and citizens.
This is an internal conclusion; I can't back it up with an explanation, but I am as sure of it as I am that the earth revolves about the Sun.

The Dreamweaver class was a good bit of fun. Being web based (and, due to my anxiousness to learn it already and some prior experience hand-coding) I was able to get ahead early on and the infection and hospital visit didn't put me behind much. My final project was a tour of Portland's Bridges, which I have always been fond of, and now adore even more. It used some things because they had to be used (gratuituous rollover images). I found that frames can actually organize and give a site rationale if they are used in just the right way. I used gratuituous multi-event rollovers but it works somehow.

It was good enough that my instructor of record asked to put a copy of it up on his instructor's website. Got full points for it. I did kind of stress the design. And I am kind of proud of it. May post it independently myself sometime, but I borrowed a lot of images and there may be copyright issues to work out. I plan on gathering my own images, over time.

Next term: only two classes, Geography of Oregon (am salivating at the thought of this one) and something called Computer Concepts I, which oddly is seen by PCC as a Physical Science class. Should be more than a coast but less than, say, solo pyramid building. And then there'll be the last term, Spring Term, the term where I do my ultimate GD courses.

Gotta start thinking about a portfolio....

[design] Downtown Ad Campaign denouement via Yahoo Graphic Design Group

Just to see what other people thought of it, I shared the PDA's downtown ad campaign with members of a Yahoo! group that I am priviledged to be a member of, the Graphic Design Resource Group.

The members are people who are in the industry-either already pro (Pariah Burke, Jeff Fisher, et. al.) or trying to break in (myself) or self employed to various degrees (there are a lot of freelancers). Typically it's a very good read.

The overwhelming impression I got from reading the responses to it was pretty much along the lines that S. Renee Mitchell had. The ads were professional and polished, but the message was muddled with way too much cleverness.

This'll be my own coda on this subject. I find it personally amusing that I find it so fascinating, but when I saw the ads and saw Mitchell's column I realized just what it was about design it is that I find so appealing.

To me, in design, the task is to communicate. But you aren't limited to spoken language. You can educate and inform, enlighten and move, with color, form, picture, and art. It's the most elegant subjective language there is. It's great fun and it's serious work all rolled into one.

I think it's actually quite a high calling.

09 December 2004

[war_news] Someone Had To Say It

SPC. Thomas Wilson, Wed, 8.Dec.2004, at a 'town hall' style opp with a group of our fighting men in Kuwait:

Our soldiers have been fighting in Iraq for coming up on three years. A lot of us are getting ready to move north relatively soon. Our vehicles are not armored. We’re digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that’s already been shot up, dropped, busted, picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat. We do not have proper armament vehicles to carry with us north.

This was widely reported already, of course. The above is from an official DoD transcript of the event, availible here

This was actually the second time he had to say it. The transcript reveals that the assembled soldiers began to applaud when Wilson paused the first time, causing SECDEF to request a repeat of the question.

Rumsfeld was stunned. This was a classic case of sandbagging, not so much because the soldier asked an unpolitic question but because he was utterly unprepared for such an incisive question. I got the idea that SECDEF got outside of his bubble, the one where everything's going okay, and got hit with a good dose of reality.

His reply (which you can read in full and I won't completely excerpt here) was typical hand waving huffing-and-puffing. He didn't reply with a contemptuous attitude, mind, it was respectful in tone, but the reply itself was an insult to the intelligence of anyone who cares about how this war is fought. The part that irritated me the most:

As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe – it’s a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously, but a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment.

Well, we went to war with the "Army we have" three years ago. Just how much time do you all need to get off the dime, Mr Secretary?

Meanwhile, over on Planet Eschaton, Atrios relays the following despatch:

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday the Army was working as fast as it can and supply is dictated by “a matter of physics, not a matter of money.'’

Jacksonville, Florida-based Armor Holdings last month told the Army it could add armor to as many as 550 of the trucks a month, up from 450 vehicles now, Robert Mecredy, president of the company’s aerospace and defense group said in a telephone interview today.

The above is an excerpt of his excerpt of a report from Bloomberg. Real eye-opening stuff.

So, what do we have here? The SECDEF portrays the military establishment as just working so dam' hard to get our troops what they need, it's physics not money, and we're just doing everything we can (insert handwaving and huffin'n'puffin) to fix the situation; and the only supplier there is for Humvee armor is saying "Well, we can get popping on this, we can increase production right now with no added cost. Nobody's asked us. We're ready when they are."

This is why I don't trust the Administration to lead us to anything but ruin. They lie to us and they don't care. They don't bother to make sure thier facts equal our reality-based reality. They just make stuff up. And they expect us to believe it. And they are quite gobstopped when we don't.

If you aren't rich or Republican connected, you're really on your own today.

08 December 2004

[ORblogs_life] pb rox!

Paul Bausch, the net.god behind ORblogs, is a benevolent ruler. He noted by post about being in Happy Valley (again) and 'splained it to the software. Now I'm back in beautiful Baja Gresham...er, sorry again, Portland.

One of these days I may explore why some people dont feel right if the signs don't match up. Also it just seemed silly to say I was in Happy Valley when I was much closer to Montavilla.

But for the time being, Paul, a public thanks. You do all this for free. It so rawks!

[blog_life] ORblogs Puts Me Back in Happy Valley

I would just like to point out that, despite what ORblogs says, I've not moved. By some bizarre algorithm the location of my blog comes up as "Happy Valley", desipite the fact that I live walking distance from Mall 205.

As everyone knows, that's actually Baja Gresham. Er, Portland.

That said, I love everything about the new redesign. Looks truly and sincerely spiff.

05 December 2004

[us_politics] Gubba say what?

Outgoing Secretary of HHS Tommy Thompson, Friday, 3.Dec.2004:

"For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do."

*blink* Zehnkatzen <= bewildered

Sometimes it isn't what them Republicans say that's scripted that alarms but what they say off the cuff.

This'll give you all something to pray for in church today. For those of you still swimming die Flusse Verleugnung, the country's never been safer, of course.

04 December 2004

[music] Duran Duran Announces Portland Stop

According to the band, a just-released tour schedule has them playing the Rose Garden on 10 March 2005.

I am saving the day.

03 December 2004

[graphic_design] S. Renee Mitchell Knows Design

Ms. Mitchell just wrote a terrific column which has lessons to teach about communicating through design and transmitting a message (available through the Oregonian for free through the month of December-after that, you gotta pay).

So far, in my training, one thing seems plain: communicating through graphics is a challenge in which one balances certain factors. Chief amongst them is a need to get attention, a clever approach, and not obscuring your information with the cleverness of your approach. It can be a struggle, as the column details, and if cleverness wins the struggle, your viewers aren't entertained or informed, but bewildered and maybe a little irritated with you for wasting thier time.

The current Portland Business Alliance's campaign to promote Downtown Portland is a case in which perhaps the need to be eye-catching has muddled the message.

Renee Mitchell:

The approach is big on pictures and short on words. A picture of a tuba reflecting a flying elephant? A man defying gravity in the middle of the lobby of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall?

I'm sure the concept is creative. Real cutting edge. In an abstract sort of way. But what's the point, again?

These are full-page ads running in newspapers this month. Affixed to the image is a stub from a SmartMeter, and in the corner, in small red print is the tagline Downtown: You Never Know What To Expect.

The main point is, there's this kind of surreal display and clever graphics. The amount of clever tricks and the feeling that there's all an inside joke going on here is so great that it likely just leaves the viewer scratching thier head.

The columnist contacted the PBA and got thier spokesperson on the phone in an attempt to explain the idea behind it. She probably knew she was going to have a bit of a problem when the spokesperson began by saying "Have you ever seen the movie 'Big Fish'?". Mitchell had not.

The rest of the column is very enlightening. It portrays a client who had a short time to get a campaign together and rushed it, came up with a too-clever-and-too-hip-by-half campaign. The messages are multiple and contradictory in some places.

Again, Renee Mitchell:

Another thing, I point out, is that the pictures make me work too hard to figure out what you're trying to sell. The scenes are festive and interesting. But the intended message -- come visit downtown -- is lost in translation.

I shan't excerpt more of the column. If the subject intrigues, then go read it whilst it's free.

But there's a lesson here that my GD instructors taught early on. Your object is to communicate. Nothing in Graphic Design is strictly good (unless you have an epiphany) or strictly bad (unless it makes you want to run screaming); things work or they don't. To the degree the message is obscured, the concept isn't working.

Perhaps they needed some group critiques. It's worked for me.

In the final analysis, if you leave a newspaper columnist-whose job it is to communicate with the written word-bewildered about exactly what you're after with your ad campaign, one can safely say you've missed the mark.

02 December 2004

[germanophilia] German Advent Calendar Trivia Game

Advent calendars are a German tradition. They come in many sizes and qualities, but the all have the same things in common; a holiday-themed graphic on the front, and small doors punched into the board/card/whathaveyou. They can be designed into the graphic or not.

As Christmas approaches, each little door is opened to reveal a small chocolate treat and, in the more pious versions, some biblical verse. They teach as well as heighten anticipation of the coming day for children (of all ages-they *are* kind of fun. They can be found sold locally, if nowhere else, as places like the Edelweiss deli on SE 12th and Powell).

At this link there's a fun little game to play. There is a gingerbread man with numerals scattered at random on it. On each successive day of December, a new trivia question will be found when clicking on the appropriate day.

The action will bring up a little window with a German-themed trivia question. There's no shame in answering wrong; a link will take you to another page that tells about the right answer, or it can be found by exploring the website, Germany-info.org. It's friendly and fun.

There is a place where the surfer can enter a giveaway for tchochkes like mugs and magnets. If you're fortunate enough to live in the greater Washington DC area you are entered for a chance at a tour of the German embassy or an invitiation to an embassy function.

Might not be reason enough to move there, but hey.

01 December 2004

[pdx_media] I Hate KATU News

Trebekkies all over the nation know that, at long last, Ken Jennings, the Original Nice Guy, has been dethroned as 75-time Jeopardy champion.

KATU(2) viewer know it too. And, if you were stupid enough to wach KATU News at 6:30pm, you knew it before the show started.

Message to Steve Dunn and Natali Marmion: Thanks for ruining the surprise for me. What the hell were you thinking? Of course, it was interesting to see how it happened. As I suspected it would, several missteps during the course of the game left him in a vulnerable position at the end, with only about $600 separating him from his second-place challenger. The challenger bet enough to go over Ken's amount by $1, and Ken got the last question wrong.

The question? The category: Companies and Corporations. The Answer: Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year. The correct Question: What is H&R Block.

Ken guessed FedEx.

I'm glad this KATU crew wasn't around when someone shot J.R. on Dallas. I'm giving up on them for a while.