26 February 2007

[liff] An Open Letter to The Academy, a/k/a Shameless Begging

732 Dear Academy members, Oscar® attendees, and winners:

Congratualtions! You've made it through another awards ceremony and I've heard it was a crackling good time. Congrats to Martin Scorsese espeically; you really deserved that gold. Good on ya! And Ellen did a brilliant job hosting. And who knew Al Gore would win an Academy Award? Magic!

But to brass tacks. I've heard that all of you individuals get these things called swag bags and the contents, well, I hate to be crass, amount to mumble times my own yearly income.

But I'm not trying to make you feel guilty for your good fortune; think of this as a respectful request from a distant admirer of your art and your lifestyle.

I have, for years, wanted an iPod. It's on my Amazon wish list (which needs to be updated; there are way cooler iPods out now). Now, I understand that one of the things you guys got in your goodie bag was, as a matter of fact, an iPod.

Now, you guys have the world at your feet; I'm just a struggling graphic designer looking for his first really big score (I got irons in the fire but...well, you know how that goes). There has never been any money in the budget for an iPod for me, regardless of how hard I've worked, but, hey one of you folks could probably afford to buy a case lot of iPods and toss them out on the street to the poor (like me).

So if one of you didn't need your iPod, could you send me one of yours?

I realize that it's kind a a cheeky request, and maybe a little out-of-school. And it's a little lighthearted, but hell, nothing ventured nothing gained, eh? If you guys hadn't've been audacious, you wouldn't be where you were.

So, what do you say? Can I have one of your iPods? My life would brighten up and you'd be a working class hero and, well, you'd gain a Number One fan for life.

And I'd blog about it all, of course. You'd win, I'd win, we'd all get a lot of cool and quirky publicity.

My email is up on the sidebar there, and I'm sometimes on Yahoo! Messager and iChat.

Let's talk!

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25 February 2007

[pdx] i•ron•y, n.

731 definition: descriptive of the emotion the mangement over at New Seasons must be feeling now that they stores they pioneered–Nature's, now Wild Oats–are being assimilated by Whole Paycheck Foods.

See also: Survivor: PDX Natural Food Markets, I Dismember Local Economies, That's Not My Paycheck, that's My Grocery Bag

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24 February 2007

[design] Designorati: I Am A Reference Source

730 Since I'm still in the act of making my bones, designerly-speaking, anytime someone references any of my online works, it really brightens my day.

Today's gift comes from a blog called "Set in Style", a chronicle that exults in the tagline A skilled and experienced editor offers advice on law firm publishing. And who are we to argue: after all, lawyers are skilled in the law, not writerly writing.

Anyway! As illustrated, one of my passions, Designorati:Typography, is listed in a shortlist of sites that are touted to "help you set type like the pros".

Little ol' me! What about that!? (Wish I could find the interrobang)

And the article mentioning my endeavor is here.

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23 February 2007

[logo_design] The new look of SAIF

729 Recently, SAIF Corporation rolled out a new identity and logo system. I commented on it here at Designorati, but I also wanted to put more of a personal view of what such a move means.

Companies that rebrand usually want to tell a different story with their printed material than they have in the past–or, if their logo/identity told not much of a story at all (the old SAIF logo was, if I recall, merely the letters SAIF, stylized). SAIF goes on at length about how they see their logo communication happening here (follow the link to SAIF's new rebranding page).

The new identity is as much about how SAIF sees itself in the Oregon economy as it is about who it feels it serves. The human figure is meant to represent the people it serves, the building facade is meant to represent the businesses that SAIF provides workers' comp insurance to, and the state outline on top represents its geographical market (SAIF is Oregon's largest worker's comp provider, with about 45-50% of the state's market share).

The three images form a sort of cube viewed in the three-quarters perspective. This provides a visual unity that works more than one way: by unifying into a solid shape, it could be expressing the unity of business and workers that forms the foundation of Oregon's economy. By placing the figure and the building below the state outline, the inference could be drawn that workers and the businesses they build are the foundation of the state and our way of life (remember, it's all about the economy here). And, by associating the whole graphical display with the letterforms that make up the company name, we could interpret this as saying that SAIF supports the Oregon economy.

The colors also tell a story. SAIF has chosen a very limited color scheme–a gray color and a green. The green colors the state outline, which is a dead-simple identification; Oregon and a green environment are a identification that many people make. The letterforms and those forms on the lower 2/3rds of the logo are also the same color, linking SAIF once again to the well-being of Oregon's economy through the identification with a healthy and safe workforce again supporting the Oregonian way of life.

Many of the better logos are simple; in the graphically-simplified (but identifiable) shapes, SAIF's new identity keeps it simple. Two colors, simple shapes, and a cube-shaped logo with some nice straight lines to align the letterform elements to.

On all levels, as a corporate rebranding, SAIF's new identity looks like an unqualified success to us.

(Tip of the cap to Rick Hansen and Elizabeth Schrader at SAIF who provided me with a webilicious version of the new SAIF logo just for the askin')

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13 February 2007

[uspolitik] Stand Up for Mike Malloy

728 It's not news that KPOJ and Air America Radio is losing Al Franken, and even though he's not said so yet, if he don't run for Senator from Minnesota, we'd be very much surprised. In our view, he's made a name for himself as a talk radio host and could have comfortably spent several years doing what has become a very enjoyable show.

But he's leaving us on 14 Feb (happy birthday, Oregon...Abysinnia, Al), and KPOJ is going to have to shake up its sked in response. Thom Hartmann's going AAR-national, and we'll see if he has the legs to follow Al's act, but what to do with the rest of the day?

KPOJ has a Franken Feedback board up here. Along with leaving best wishes for Al, I believe that KPOJ is watching the messages to get an idea of who to have on next.

I, like many, am a big fan of Mike Malloy. I've sorely missed him since AAR's strange and mysterious firing of him. So I left a message that maybe we could have Mike on in the 6PM-9PM slot. I like Sam Seder, too, but I think he'd be better on at another time of the day, and with Mike back on in the early evening, he would at last be live in Portland.

If you are a Mike Malloy fan and want to hear him again, go to KPOJ's Franken Feedback and leave a friendly, respectful note (you'll catch more flies with honey, remember) that you'd like to hear him on for free on Portland radio.

I've missed him. I know many of you have too. So, stand up for Mike, and submit a comment!

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02 February 2007

[liff] America: Scared Stupid

727 It's like I've always said; if you outlaw LiteBrites, then only outlaws will have LiteBrites.

I'd like to be the first to call for a Federal five-day waiting period for all Hasbro toys. And just what the hell is up the The Game of LIFE, anyway?

We have had this campaign here in Portland, I hear; some of my cow-orkers have seen this little guy. When I told them what happened in Boston, they couldn't believe what they were hearing, so I'm pretty sure this wasn't just me.

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[pdx] Can We Please Not Do This?

726 We're original here in Oregon...just like those people in Pennsylvania. The Oregonian:
If Ke is to be believed, prepare yourself for six more weeks of winter.

The African hedgehog is the Oregon Zoo’s version of Punxsutawney Phil. But unlike her Pennsylvania contemporary, Ke spotted her shadow today.
These days, I don't believe anyone unless they're under subpoena and an oath.

I will cop to maybe not getting out as often as a person ought; having 2 jobs'll do that to you. But since when was this a tradition? I can't remember none but this year. Can't we do better than what someone in a small Pennsylvania town has done for publicity for years? Are we this desperate to have people love us?

Actually, I have a better idea for a truly Oregonized Groundhog Day; have George Taylor come out of his office in Corvallis at a set time on 2 February and tell us if he sees his shadow.

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01 February 2007

[misc] ISBNs Are Now 13 Digits Wide...

725 For what it's worth, the ISO has implemented the new 13-digit ISBN standard as of more or less right now.

The system that has served since the 1960's, 10 digits (9 plus a check digit) can identify up to one billion publications. The system isn't taxed, but that is possible in the future, especially in as much as, like many such systems, segments of it are allocated for special uses. In the interests of solving a problem before it occurs, the ISO has jumped out in front of it.

The basic difference to the layman is that the ISBN will have a new three digit prefix. But those who maintain databases and even book designers should be well aware of it by now and, if you aren't...well, here you go.

This system should provide enough numbering space that they shouldn't have to fix it until after we establish our Alpha Centauri colony, I think.

ISO has an FAQ about ISBN visibile HERE.


[art] My Bob Ross Fandom; the Bona fide.

724. Reading over my last posting I realize that the motivated Ross method painter might take some of my viewpoints amiss. This is to be understood, and I would say that we can all have differing viewpoints and still respect one another; as I said, I am not trying to come off as a CRI (or any Ross painter) playa hata.

Serious about that! Still, even though I said that I was a fan of The Joy of Painting for a very long time, my less-than fully respectful opinion of the work of Bob Ross may strike some as–well, insincere.

But, despite its flaws, I never said that the Ross method doesn't deliver what it promises–the joy of painting. And I do find his work entertaining, for what it is; a novice's introduction to painting. I just don't think someone should get stuck there; creation also means growth, but I digress.

Anyway! The point of this post is to show off one of my proudest posessions–and to make a promise to the world at large. First, the dingus.

We Found This at Goodwill, I think...
Dig, if you will, this picture:

Seen late at night in my very own studio space, submitted for your approval, Bob's early acme opus, The Best of The Joy of Painting. This book, published by William Morrow in 1989 (and still available, as far as I can tell) after eight years of Ross on-screen goodness, collected 60 of Bob's favorites from those first years and compiled them so that anyone with the gumption to try could do so.

Each painting not only has detailed instructions but black and white illustrations for each step (admittedly b&w photos for instruction in color is a little annoying, but it kept the cost of the book down and if you've seen any of Bob's shows, you already have a good idea of what it's about).

We found this at a used bookstore, I think it was Powell's but it could have been Goodwill. It's fun to read the book, seeing Bob hawk his products up front and imagining his soothing dulcet voice purring out every word, but the real treat was opening to the front end papers and finding this:

Clicky, of course, to embiggen. Yes, you see it right; at the used bookstore, we found an autographed copy of Bob Ross's first hardcover compilation; Happy Painting, Bob Ross. This is kind of like when you find that masterpiece in your attic, I'll bet.

In the corner of the page someone priced it, in pencil: 11.95 Signed. They even knew it was signed and let it go for a song.

But I'm not eBaying this baby; I'm keeping it. This one's mine!

A Promise Goes on The Record

But still, as I said, I can see where my remarks may be seen as a bit amiss, a bit irreverent. That's a fair comment, though I mean no harm by them I find the slender thread of absurdity running through all of this.

But I don't hate the playas or the game; and to prove it, I'll make this promise, posted on a 'blog for the ages to record, and it's this....

On my Amazon wish list you'll find, at the top (or at least it was last I looked) the Bob Ross Master Paint Set. This is a kit which contains an instructional video, paints, a starter set of tools, and instructions for a painting. All that need be added by the aspiring artist is a canvas of appropriate size.

If anyone would like me to put my linseed oil where my mouth is, I promise that if anyone takes it upon themselves to purchase this item for me from the wish list, I will provide the canvas, and will, upon receipt of the item, complete the painting. I will do it with Ross materials, the Ross way, and will blog the whole process.

That, my friends, is a firm and fast promise.

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