30 December 2008

The End Of A Year, A Visit To Fry's ... and Goals

1890.I think that I'm kind of starting from zero again, in a way. I'm back on a capable computer, which I got by with a little help from my friends, and I'm looking forward.

If my life was a poem, it would be "Finnegan, begin again". I always seem to be.

Anyway, I'm taking it as a positive sign. And now I look forward. Kris Coppieters has purchased my services, and I'm getting started on this with the new year, and the way I see it, designing someone's logo is a great way to start. It was what I was meant to do. It's why I keep looking for the opportunity, because there is no other option for me.

Looking over the Macintoshes on sale at Fry's tonight, I saw what I hope will be the future of my tools. I got back on the PowerMac G4 after a bit of begging. I'll work toward the MacPro/MacBook Pro/whichever by earning this.

Until then, the G4 will serve well. But there is only so far she can take me.

Welcome 2009. You've got to be a better deal than 2008 was.

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28 December 2008

A Snowy Calm, Just Before The Storm

1889.A view of my favorite downtown in the world, with a dusting of snow ... just before the big one hit last week:

Clicky here to embiggen.

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A New Style of Portland Street Sign Debuts at 117th and Division?

1888.I believe I've stumbled onto something new and rather exciting, and it's been rolled out on one street sign in my own neighborhood.

Recently I saw, on the north side of SE Division Street at 117th Avenue, the street blades you see here:

Interesting, yes? And just in this one spot so far.

This represents sort of a quantum leap in the design of the basic Portland street blade. But more about that in a 'mo. Here's a few more views.

They've added the crossing street block index! It's now an integral part of the blade, and in a slightly surprising way.


It reads well from a distance. Nifty!

The avenue blade retains the traditional Portland look, now within the new white frame with rounded corners. It's looking pretty good ... and readable!

Here's how it might look from a car. You know what corner you're at.

Now, for a little design discussion.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the basic Portland street blade is the lack of a block number. Whether or not you get that the crossing street blade holds the block number of the street you're one (the block number of the named street being self-evident from the number of the avenue), we take it as axiomatic that it's just plain nifty to have the block number on the street sign itself, thus preserving your sanity and relieving you of the need to peer at the front doors of nearby houses, thus perhaps drawing reproachful return glares.

But in general it saves you a step. You have the block number at a convenient, findable place, and it's finally been integrated into the design of the blade itself, just as it has in almost every other major city in the Willamette Valley. Currently, the block number comes on a tab bolted on to the blade itself, and, due to the ways you can have the blades stacked, not always in the same place. Moreover, several somewhat-poorly designed sign-toppers for neighborhood identification omit this information entirely, and the tab has been removed in some of these cases. This design neatly solves that problem.

Now the question becomes how efficiently the information gets delivered. We feel this design does the job quite nicely. By placing the directional (SE), specific (Division) and generic (St) all on the same baseline, the eye reads the street name at one go quite naturally. Reducing the type size on the generic preserves the traditional Portland look. And, by placing the block number a bit up and toward the upper right hand corner of the blade, the eye arrives at an important supplemental bit of information last.

On top of all that is the sheer niftiness of giving the blade a new rounded-corner profile with a wide white stroke around the outside actually contains and defines the design into an aesthetically pleasing whole.

I don't know who in the Portland department of making street signs came up with this idea, but my friend ... you've nailed it.

Beautifully done.

Please make sure you get more of these up. You make me proud to be a Portlander.

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25 December 2008

A Christmas Gift To All ... Wallpaper For Your Root Account Desktop

1887.Now, we who have Un*x-based systems (OS X and others) know that occaisionally need to get a root account enabled because sometimes you just have to do a superuser thing or two. I occaisionally need to grab files from another account but you can't always do that when just logged in with Administrator priviledges.

But you know how dangerous root access can be. You can delete all files from your system, and the system will go ahead and let you.

I like doing this ... this wallpaper lets you know exactly what kind of fire you're playin' with when you go root. I give this idea to the general public and urge everyone who has a root account on any sort of Un*x to put it up there. Enjoy:

Merry Christmas!

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23 December 2008

Our Substance Is Lessened By This Loss

1886.It would seem that we've lost another dear friend and associate.

This has been a season of loss and of travail. Old friends of great mind have departed this sphere of existence and we will not see thier like again; this is a guarantee.

I cannot say whom at this point, but it was unexpected and he died too young. And I ribbed him but I respected him utterly.

I wish I had a chance to tell him that. Now, I never will.

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21 December 2008

A Test For The Laptop


Now this is a test of something called ScribeFire, an addon for Firefox. This is being done from the G3 iBook because I want to have an alternative from Qumana (which I have a beta of that works on OS X but the downloadable doesn't and they've gone quiet over there), Flock (which actually is starting to grow on me) and the Blogger interface (which I can't stand (nothing personal, Blogger ... it just doesn't work for me.)).

This has a bunch to say for it ... categories in the interface and Technorati tags?

Nice so far. Let's publish it and see if I can live with the results.

20 December 2008

Brain Graffiti

1884.I was trying out yet another blog editor ... a plugin for Firefox ... and it left the last bit of dross in attempting to spawn a live preview.

I decided I liked it so much that I'm going to leave it there.

On a wholly unrelated point, you know how it is that they hire endowed young ladies to staff Hooters? Why don't you see more one-legged servers at IHOP?


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15 December 2008

I Love It When This Happens (updated)

NB: There is a public update, 1438 18 Dec. Please seen end of the post


The bestest thing about the intermet is that it allows me to be an open admirer of something and sometimes the creator notices my hat tip and returns it.

This time, it's Michael Everson. He developed this font, which I fell silly in love with, called Everson Mono:

everson mono

The thing about Everson Mono is that it's monospaced (as the name would suggest).  A monospaced font is one in which every glyph, regardless of shape, occupies one unmutable space, and all the spaces are equal. If you used Courier or Arial when you had a better choice available, that's a monospaced font ... and we'll be sending the design police round to duff you up a treat, as they say.

Well, clear your Arial and your Courier off your drives, peoples, consign them to the dustbin of type history. If you must use a monospaced font, use Everson's; it has little filips and touches, is eminently readable, and actually has a little art to them. And, as I said then as now, I adore the minuscule g.

Anyway, M. Everson acknowledged my little love letter and I must say thank you. What better way to show you where to download the font:

You'll get it for free here. That's free, as in it ain't cost you nuthin'. Free fonts, people ... do I really need to tell you what to do here?

The world will look a little better for your efforts and Michael Everson will be duly enshrined as the man who brought attractiveness to the monospaced font.

Yes, you have to do this.

While you're at it, cruise the rest of the Evertype site. Cleanly designed with an impressive reach.

UPDATE: As correctly pointed out by commenter zwetterman, Everson Mono is not actually free, but shareware:

Everson Mono is shareware. If you use it, please support its development by buying a licence to do so. The shareware fee for using one or more than one (that is, any or all) of these Unicode-supporting coded font programs is EUR 33.00. The licence gives you the right to use these fonts on three CPUs and three CPUs only. (That’s two at the office and one at home, so please don’t complain.) Shareware is not freeware. You may not use Everson Mono for free.

That's what you get for not reading the license, which is a little embarrassing because I usually always read the license.

However, I will point out that you can download the font for nothing, and would highly suggest that everyone that can pay for it, do so. Genius like this deserves to be rewarded.

Thank you zwetterman for the sharp eye. I'll continue to advocate for this font, because I like it just that much.

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TriMet Phone Surveys


The Wife™ was able to opine on a phone survey about transit in Portland. The fellow at the call center was very charming and affable, and for all it's flaws, we like TriMet.

The irony that the phone call came from a call center in Area Code 206 – Seattle – is not lost upon us.

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14 December 2008

The (Old) Soul Of A New Machine


After a major gut check (as previously stated), I de-hard-drived the old drive from the old computer and installed it in the new one. Of course, the nifty thing about Mac OS X is that choosing which startup drive you get to use is a simple thing to do in the System Preferences. We are, in short, back ... 100%. This place is looking a lot like the old place!

Heart ... and soul

The thing about computers is that they contain two parts, when we think schematically: the heart (the processor) and the soul (the hard drive). The hard drive contains all the apps, prefs, everything that gives the computer the personality that you are so familiar with. And I've been using this machine for quite a while, so there was a lot of personality. My favorite apps outside of Adobe and Quark ... the saved mail, the font editors, Cyberduck, all that ... is on the old drive. And being able start up on the old drive brings me back to a very comfortable place. I now have three drives total on this machine, providing a total about 200 GB of storage across the three: SunDial Three is the old drive, the original 80GB drive from the old machine, SunDial Four is the 60GB outboard FW drive I have for backing some things up; and SunDial Six is the drive that came with the new machine (SunDial Five, for what it's worth, is the G3 iBook we have; SunDial One and SunDial Two are hard drives on a machine that is no longer with us that ran Windows 98). So not only do I have a good machine back and a great deal of storage space, but all my apps and the personality of the old machine. It's kind of like coming home. Tags: , , , , ,

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13 December 2008

Dreaming of 70,000

1881. Sometime later tonight, when I wont' be around to see it, the visit tally on this will hit another milestone – seventy thousand.

I just wanted to thank everyone who came by here for whatever reason.

Your visits are valued. Every one.

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A Technical Investigation

1880. One of the things that really intimidates me is breaking into my computer for any reason.

I just don't like it for a variety of reasons. I hate little screws. I hate barking my knuckles on pointy metal things, edges, and trimmed and soldered leads. I hate the idea that I maybe didn't get one bit of static charge off me (I grip a big metal pipe in the basement that goes straight into the ground so I shouldn't worry – yes, my neurotic nature is awesome!) and the next touch to the circuit board I make will make my beautiful toy turn into a microscopially-fused lump of metal-and-silicon.

Apple made it easy a while back. Anyone who has or uses a Blue-and-White G3 or a Yikes!, Sawtooth, Graphite or MDD G4 tower knows this. When Apple moved off the case design with the G5s I was sad.

But the beauty of these cases ... known by some as the "drawbridge" cases (because of the way they open) are self-evident. No screws, no cover to put aside, no need to constantly reach into the case. pull a latch on the outside of the tower, and one side hinges down, like a drawbridge. There, in front of you, is the logic board. In the case and reachable are the power supply and all the disk drives.

Simply beautiful. And while you still have to use screws to affix the hard disk drives to the carrier that holds them, you only need to pull on a latch and push up to get the drive carrier out at all.

Still a little barking of the knuckles. Nothing's absolutely perfect, of course.

And now my old hard drive from the original machine is sitting it its drive carrier on top of that old machine ready to go into the new one. This has a great many apps on it (my font editors and my registered copy of QuickTime, amongst others) that I simply do not want to do without.

But I'm not pushing it. It's a late hour and the last thing I need to do is rush this.

Tomorrow, maybe ... if the gut check goes well.

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Can A Dotty Font Save The Planet? Are Small Steps Important?

1888. That's the question.

I'll admit that (due to extenuating cirucmstances) I'm late to the party this one; Eco Font (free for the downloading) has, if not taken the world by storm, at least generated a bit of discussion.

Looking at the font:


It's easy to see how it does it's magic. The dots are engineered so as to not affect readability too much and only require about 80% of the ink used to print a similar solid-black letter.

As a concept, we can't argue with it. It's an original and surprisingly simple approach.

Would we actually typeset with it? Probably not, unless we were looking for an effect.

Type carries attitude. That's why you absorb the information of a Helvetica display without getting too hung up on the type design; that's why classic serif fonts make you think seriously when you read books and newspapers. The dots are clever, but a distraction.


I can't remember what they call it, but there's a principle out there that says if you want to eventually roll something absurd out, there's a way you can get the public used to the idea. You roll out an idea that's destined to fail, perhaps even beautifully so. Everyone notices and a lot of people laugh a bit.

But later you roll out a variation on the concept. People are not so surprised this time, and wondering what you've done to improve it. They're starting to take you just a little bit seriously.

If this fail, you roll out another variation in a while. More refined and more people are willing to see if you "got it right" this time.

Eco font is a silly thing, but inspiringly so. I don't think it will go anywhere except as a curio, as far as fonts go. I wouldn't want to read a book in it, but to really save 20% on the ink output and to make a difference, you'd have to use it a lot.

So people will see it as a delightful curiosity and react accordingly (and hey, everyone likes free fonts).

But this may inspire someone to refine the concept. I don't see how, but surely someone out there is thinking, now. And soon enough, a variation on the concept will emerge, and maybe it will be silly too, but it will be refined.

The second time won't gain traction either. But the third time might. And the fourth time could. And the fifth time ... ?

It's a cascading spark. That's the way change happen – evolution much more often than revolution.

And so it goes.

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12 December 2008

Bootstraps. Pulling Hard

1888. We are starting to get back to the point where the place is almost looking the way it used to. Adobe CS3 has been successfully installed (Both design premium and web premium editions).

For now, we're going to be posting blog entries from the Flock blog editor. Once you use a blog editor, you don't want to go back; just having your entries off-line and editable is worth it, 100%. The Blogger on-line editor seems more a straitjacket than a liberator.

The only thing I'm going to have problems with is, as I've said before, the leading. Let's hope that Flock can handle it now. The version is up to 2.0, so it must at least be some sort of usable.


Bootstraps are a popular icon in American culture. Everyone's supposed to have 'em, and if you just pull on them hard enough, you're supposed to lift yourself up to the level you want to be at, laws of physics be damned (we in America tend to think we're above simple physical laws anyway sometimes).

Not all bootstraps are created equal, though. We like to think they are, but they aren't. My personal bootstraps are more like gift ribbons ... they'll get you up but won't take you very far.

Now, more than ever I find that we are not only equal to ourselves but also what others do with and for us. This crisis I seem to be getting through has really taught me this.

My biggest ambition in life, aside from getting a little bit famous maybe, is to have enough resources on board to help people the way I just now got helped. I want to pay my favor forward. For now, that involves retrenching and recrafting my on promotional campaign to establish a real toe-hold as a designer.

I'm working this out right now. It can be said, perhaps, that one of my problems in finding success is my model is too close to that of the underpants gnomes in South Park, which, in my case, looks like:

  1. Learn Graphic Design

  2. ? ? ?

  3. PROFIT!

In as much as I am occasionally ground down by the vicissitudes of daily life, I tend to get distracted, so I can't really say I do anything but think what am I going to do about this? and try things others have tried.

But what I'd really like to do? Give other people better bootstraps, like a few people just gave me. That would be success, yes.

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11 December 2008

The Quest: We are Re-Computered

The PowerMac G4 arrived from PowerMax today, and there was no problem in plugging it in and powering it on.

I am currently running off that machine. It's good to be at my workstation; it's good to look at the computer on a big screen.

It's good to be back in the studio.

I still have benchmarks to complete. First will the the installation of the old "SunDial Three" hard drive into this case, then the SuperDrive from the old machine.

I owe it all to the people who thought enough of me to donate money to make this happen.

Thank you, thank you all.

Is Gmail Rebranding to Google Mail?

I'm mad curious because I don't see this anywhere else (hey, I Googled!) but on the Gmail interface, the word Gmail has been replaced with the words Google Mail. The only place (so far) that hasn't sported the change is the Gmail sign-in screen.

Intriguingly, there seems to be just about zero commentary on this ... at least as far as I can find.

Is Gmail rebranding? It certainly looks that way. But why on the q.t.?

09 December 2008

The Deed Is Done: The Replacement Computer Is Coming

Thanks to the incredible good will of the people who've donated, I will once again have my beloved CS3 apps available to me.
I have just completed the purchase of a pre-owned PowerMac G4 MDD, with FW 800 and about 1 Gig of memory, from PowerMax. The amount in the fund has been updated to reflect the money spent.

I've learned a great deal about myself from this, and great deal about the people who come here to read or comment. You could have put that money down anywhere else. You deemed me worthy of it. Your generosity and belief in me has improved my outlook dramatically, and I'm more ready to take on the world than I have been in some time.

It has been a rather hard quarter. Losing the computer I depended on hasn't been the only travail hereabouts ... just the most germane to the mission of this blog.

Thank You, Judy!

I'd like at this time to thank one last contributor. Judy, my logo design client, with a donation. I enjoyed working for you, Judy, and I hope you and your son's realities are playing out in the way you want them to.

I'm fond of you as a fellow blogger, and I read you regularly ... just don't comment as much as I should.

Why Buy Over The 'Net When the Vendor Is Across Town?

I'll be recieving the new machine in 5-10 business days, hopefully sooner. I looked into PowerMax because of thier reputation and their smug pride in living in Oregon (that part of the character is right up my street, if you know me). Those of you familiar with PowerMax know that the actual location of the business is in Tualatin, off I-5, exit 290 (you know, the one where they want to put in a Stars Cabaret strip joint).

If they're right across town, why buy over the 'net and wait for delivery?

Convenience is one good reason. For poor folks, we're busy. This cuts out just one more trip to do.

A couple more reasons are the guarantees that PowerMax extends to internet shoppers of pre-owned Macs. They are two: 1: What they send you will work as advertised. If it doesn't, they'll replace it with one that does. 2: The 90-day warranty. If the purchase is unsatisfactory (I don't expect it will be) they will give me full credit toward something else.

As you can tell, I like having some form of guarantee. It tells me some things about the seller: that they have good will and a good rep (and are willing to take steps to preserve it by making sure they don't sell you junk).

So now, the waiting begins. UPS, don't fail me now.

08 December 2008

On Blogging, Stat Addiction, and Popularity

It might probably go without saying that when times are tough, as they obviously are now, one tends to look closely at some of the behaviors one exhibited when they were doing a certain thing, when suddenly chance dictates that they not do it so much any more.

On The Blogging Habit

Such it is with me and blogging. I love blogging. I'd even go so far as to say, even if it were inaccurate, that I'm addicted to it. So, bereft of my main computer – where all my design files and whatever research and art play on whatever it was I was doing when the wall fell down – I don't blog as much, and when I don't blog, I seemed to naturally gravitate toward asking myself why I was doing it and what I hoped to accomplish.

I'm still answering those questions. The overall answer is that I just plain love writing. I always have. And it's quite empowering when even one person reads it and even comments. That's a palpable high.

And that may be indeed a physical response that can maybe qualify as addiction. I note in my pretty-much-constant reading that some researchers are treating being on the intermets as an addictive behavior. I also note elsewhere that someone figured out that the reason you go to Wikipedia and promply lose hours of your life clicking random links is because the very act of finding something out that you didn't know (or you didn't know you wanted to know) causes the release of neurotransmitters that deliver pleasure.

I'm no medical researcher, but it all makes sense to me.

Back when there was just TV News, you couldn't tear me away from the set during "the dinner hour". When I found the internet and UseNet, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. When I found the WWW, I revised that. When I found blogs, I revised that yet again (so far that's three dying-and-going-to-heavens. I'm probably pressing my luck here).

I guess you could call it an addiction, so.

On Stat Addiction

One thing I know I'm addicted to (or as near as makes no difference) is watching my hit count go up. I think that, in the end, that's probably a bad thing. I get about 100 hits a day, more or less and I want it to be more.

But how soon I forget that a couple years back, I only was getting 20 hits a day and was thinking I was really hitting my stride if I got more than thirty. Maybe it's tenaciousness but I really seem to be carving some sort of a niche.

The downside of being addicted to my stats is that when my stats go flat or fall (which seems to be the normal mode of operation) my smile tends to turn upside down. My Technorati authority was once over 70, would you believe? Then it started falling, and nothing I've been able to do content-wise have gotten too many people to link in to me. Noting that I've been leaning on the "easily distracted" part, I began to explore using my intense interest in design software to explore tutorials available online. It was fun, and when I'm back up and running I'll do it some more. I simply enjoy using Illustrator and Photoshop.

But it didn't result in any more inbound links or much of an uptick in stats. I really don't understand why. That was some fascinating stuff!

Also my quest to find out what artists I admire use and how they use it, which saw reality in a couple of posts about Dilbert's Scott Adams (which I still find dead cool) didn't get too much interest, which I thought funny. Who wouldn't be fascinated by such stuff?

One lesson I've learned about having a blog worth visiting is to not have one that's' banal. I think I've done my level best to get this blog there; after all, just before G4's PSU lost the magic smoke, I'll be a bit arrogant perhaps and say I've been doing the best blogging so far in the history of The ZehnKatzen Times. And I don't know anyone else who's experimenting with tutorials on line or actively finding out about the techniques of artists he likes, or even posting scans of his old Portland maps.

Where this section is all going, is that I just might be getting rid of some of the pretty stat counters on the sidebar. The Technorati authority widget might go; the Blogcatalog widget has gone from 55.2 to 58.0 and, for some reason, back down to 55.1, so that's not elevating. The trouble with stat loggers like that is they go down, but it's not clear why.

The Blogged widget? That'll probably stay. An editor over there rated me as 7.4. And the Statmeter? That'll stay. I've watched that go through 30k, 40k, 50k, and 60k and I'm almost on 70k. That's pretty good for a blog of my stature.

I'm pretty sure that that national love affair with my blog is due to start any time now, and I want to know when it happens.

So, I'll dial that back a bit ... but I won't completely abandon tracking my stats. I will try to make it rather less of a distraction.
On Popularity
In all my blogging activity, I keep coming to a central kernel of truth for me. I also want to be liked by a lot of people.

I don't want to be the most popular blog around. I'd settle for being everyone's third most popular blog maybe. See, I'm humble!

It has gone beyond that though. Short of being everyone's hero, I have met some very very fantastic people. Stan, for one; Dale, for another (spiritually these two people are polar opposites, and I find that cosmically delightful). I live in the same city as Dale (and Stan lived in Milwaukie until he married his sweetheart Nicole, now lives in a city in SW Missouri called Orangutang, I think) but I've never physically met either, but I count them as friends and I view the emails I get from them like a friendly visit at the front door. Larry Fire, of The Fire Wire, actually asked if we couldn't exchange links (which still to this day flatters me). And Miles, of Documented Life and Portland Ground, who I don't visit near enough. And of course Portland Confidential, now Lost Oregon. I love that guys work. You all should. Alan Cordle? A hero of mine from the days of Foetry. Very courageous individual, if you ask me.

So I'm not the top of the blogging heap. I'll be honest; there is still a deep abiding need in me to be everyone's hero (and I'd try, if I weren't so weighed down by some of my own concerns). But I have built these amazing relationships that I'd not have, that sustain and inspire me, if I'd never started blogging.

I guess, then, you'd call it a kind of success.

In the near future, thanks to inspiration from Rorohiko's Kris Coppieters, I'm going to gradually remake this humble web home of mine into a more focussed place. I can't promise there won't be tangents ... I seem to be doomed to be easily distracted (the tagline in the header image is there for a reason) but if there are, I'll try to go off on them sparingly.

Back to the fray, now.

Over the $500 Mark: We Get Closer To Getting The System Back

More angels have stopped by here over the weekend: two more donations have brought the contents of the computer replacement/repair fund to over $500!

The exact amount, as of this writing, stands at $513.42.

My gratitude goes beyond words, and especially to: Dale, Kris, Alan, Jeff, and Dave. I will be able to say, without exaggeration, that I could not have done it without you. I had no idea I'd built up this goodwill, and in these tough times, it is especially sustaining.

In the PayPal department, we finally are verified. This means we can use various methods to pay from the account even to payees that don't accept PayPal. We can also get them to send us a PayPal debit card, so we can deduct from the account via ATM and use the debit card for e-payments as well.

More as the situation develops!

05 December 2008

Coming Back ... More From The Fray

With an additional donation from blogfriend Alan, I'm actually above the $450 mark now. And deals on potential replacement systems seem to be more plentiful.

I've started the PayPal verification process. It's another case of hurry-up-and-wait. In this case, I decided to link a checking account. When you do this, they make two very small (< $1) deposits to the account you specify (hey, money for nothing, yes?), and as soon as they show up, you go back to PayPal and input the amounts so they know that it was yours.

Catch: you have to wait 3-5 days for the deposits to show up.

I think I may have a few more donations coming in. I hope I hope I hope. People's generosity is a sustaining force these days. During these hard times, it's especially encouraging.

01 December 2008

Update On The Struggle

I continue to work toward getting my trustworthy PowerMac G4 MDD back on its feet. It's still up on blocks in my studio.

As reported earlier, I did hit the target. I didn't remember until after I had a few donations that the PayPal service will of course take they're cut; effectively I have got the $450 I was originally after; in reality the amount is $431.79.

Definitely not complaining! Just pointing this out as part of my own learning curve.

Next step is to convert that to buying power. I am currently an unverified user of PayPal, and those of you with PP experience know what that means; you have to give them a checking account number to link your PP account too. Have that lined up as well. We typically cast a jaundiced eye toward giving online sites like this too much information, but I haven't heard of a wave of problems with PP, so we will proceed, but proceed with caution. Checking the activity of my PP account will become a regular thing from here on out.

Though I would give one word of advice to people trying a similar thing to this: PayPal is simple to set up but you will have to get verified in order to do anything else but get your money payed out to you in a check, which can take weeks (and you're limited to withdrawing $500 until you get verified anyway).

But, like I said, it's not a complaint, and if these services work as advertised and with reasonable dispatch, I expect to have none.

I'll be spending this money locally. PowerMac (http://powermax.com) seems to have some great deals on used systems.

More as events warrant.

27 November 2008

The Target Has Been Achieved!

Today is Thanksgiving, indeed around these parts as we have hit (minus PayPal service charges of course) the goal of raising the $450 necessary to start our rehabilitation into a working design studio again.

We're almost there. We'll have to figure out how to get the money to the vendor that we are thinking of using and then get the thing in house.

Thank you, all who have contributed, and Kris, who's going to get him some serious logo design work now!

23 November 2008

PowerMac G4 Power Supply: Another $25 Down

Thanks to another donation, I have now notched $25 closer to getting to my goal of acquiring the power supply I need or a system to replace it (thank you, Kris).

If I could get only sixteen more people to lay down $25 in my direction, I'm back in business. Of course, that's not the requirement. As I said before, I will value any amount of money no matter how small.

Also, I reiterate my promises:

  1. Any amount over the $450 target that I've raised will go to charity. I will not keep it. The charity of choice is still EFF.
  2. The person who donates the largest amount when the target is reached will recieve a logo design package at no extra charge, including as many discussions as it takes to get what you want the way you want it and solidly designed. If you don't want a logo, maybe there's a print publication, some brochure pamphlet or magazine, that you want done. This job will commence after the computer is back up and working.

If I can sound a little corny here, just the donations I've recieved so far have done immense good to my psyche, which, it probably goes without saying, has been in better shape.

Thanks, guys. I appreciate this.

22 November 2008

PowerMac G4 Power Supply: The Fundraising Continues

First of, all, if you surfed here from Faith In Honest Doubt, Dale's blog, thanks for stopping by. And thank you Dale for mentioning my plight in your blog. I am flattered and thankful.

I am still trying to raise funds to get my computer, my trustworthy Apple PowerMac G4 (with the mirrored drive doors) off blocks and back to work.

If you've followed my story at all you'll know that I have, for some time now, tried to find work as a designer. My main tool for creating (as well as job hunting) was the PowerMac G4, a beautiful and hardworking machine. I not only tried finding work with it, I used it to keep my skills reasonably current and also create and do some design work (hey, it's volunteer stuff, for the Columbia Group of the Sierra Club and OryCon 30, but if you can't get paid for it at least you get to get out and do it)

About 1 week ago the power supply died. Now, if it were a PC, I could go down to FreeGeek and get back to procducing with an outlay of $15 or $20. But I decided to go Macintosh, and when something fails on a Mac, sometimes it gets expensive.

In this case, a new power supply for the Mac runs upwards of $400. Money we don't really have right now.

So, I'm fundraising. I need your help! If you can throw just a few dollars my way, I'd be very grateful. Moreover, the person who contributes the most after I hit the target is going to have a logo and letterhead designed for them for no extra charge, so I'm putting my skill on the line here too.

I need my computer back, badly.

I'm aiming for $450 because that will also cover the cost of buying a used system with comparable specs at a place like PowerMax, which has a good selection.

There's a donate button at the top of the sidebar, and no donation is really too small. I've already gotten one donation for $25 (thanks again, Dale) and if just seventeen more people donated $25, I'd be there!

Also, any in excess I get over the target will be donated to an organization that does real good in the world (I'm leaning toward EFF, who I've always admired)

Thanks in advance to whoever looks kindly upon me and my dilemma.

21 November 2008

Official Non-Judgmental OryCon 30 Fashion and Print Design Report

Out: Pirates. Sorry. Eh, I mean, saaaaarghry.

In: Gothic Lolita, in a big way, and by big I mean decolletage. Just in the last six hours I've seen my yearly requirement of tiny schoolgirl skirt and cleavage. And by my yearly requirement, I mean 2009. Yes, I'm already over limit for next year.

Program Books: Devinely designed, and I should know.

I haz donation!

Good news today as I was able to score at least one donation, which places me $25 closer to what I need than I was earlier today.

Thank you to the donator. I really appreciate that!

$425 to go!

20 November 2008

Help A Hapless (and Computerless) Designer Out?

UPDATE: I've sweetened the pot a bit. I'm willing to put up design services in return for donations – you could get a logo design package in return for your donation for no extra cost! Read how at the bottom of the post.

It's been a difficult few days hereabouts. I've mentioned why: on Sunday, the trustworthy PowerMac G4 which has helped me get what few triumphs I've so far achieved in design, and helps me compete to the degree I can compete, quit working.

We've narrowed it down to the power supply. No big deal right? They have them by the bushel for $5-$15 at FreeGeek.

Well, my friends, you haven't priced power supplies for a PowerMac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors) vintage 2003-2004. I'm still getting over the shock. New ones cost up to (are you sitting down?) $400.

This can essentially put me out of business for a while. I don't really want to be out of business for a while. And anyone reading this can imagine what it's like to struggle and hit the mark occasionally only to have your essential tool die on you or disappear just when you need it the most.

So, I'm humbly and sincerely asking for the assistance of the general public. If I've entertained you a little, found a tip that helped you, fired your interest in type, tutorials, or just having fun designing or blogging right now, I really need your help.

At the top of the blog sidebar there's a donation link to PayPal. No amount is really too small, and I'm only looking for enough to fix the PowerMac G4 (which was serving me really well). Any amount I can get will help defray the expense at least. And maybe we can get a little internet-famous doing it? (I'd blog it of course).

Anyway, any help I could get from anyone will be more than appreciated. Right now I have nothing to give in return but my gratitude, but I tell you all this: any boon directed my way will, at the very least, be paid forward. Because when I succeed, people who made it possible will succeed as well.

Moreover, any in excess of what I need to get the computer back on my desktop working will be applied toward a worthy charity, such as EFF or anything that keeps the internet available for all (it will probably be EFF).

Thank you in advance.

Update as stated above: I have just decided that there will be a sort of a prize attached to this. Judging by the costs, it should take, if I can get a new power supply, about $450 to get the job done.

If and when the donation hits or exceeds that target, the person who made the largest donation will receive a logo design package. That means I will design for you a logo and a complete business system (business card, envelope, and letterhead). Want to have a professional finish to whatever activity it is you're doing? Nothing does it like a custom logo design. And my going rate for the basic service is comparable to the target I'm trying to reach ... which means that you'll be getting this valuable service at a discount.

Here's an example of what I can do.

So, what do you all say? Help a fellow out?

Thanks again.

16 November 2008

Lost My Computer Today

Bad day today. My PowerMac G4, the thing that I created with, that I was (so far with futility, but have not given up hope) searching for design work with, has died.

It's probably the power supply, but it's hard to say how those things go. All now know is, the start up that should have happened, didn't. The power switch blinked for a brief second, then nothing.

I've never been one to beg, but I really need a break or some good news right now. And I've been keeping up a good front so as to keep up my own personal hope.

But without the one tool I need to even try to compete, I don't know how that's going to happen.

Tried pressing the PMU button. Nothing.

Ahh, I'm going back to bed.

Jack Bogdanski Can Link This When He Posts About The Tram ...



(If I needs to tell you alls to hit the big red button, turn off the computer and return it to Circuit City please. Yes, before they go out of business).

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15 November 2008

Seattle's KIRO Moves From News/Talk to Sports, Sports a New Logo


Recently Seattle's KIRO radio, one of the biggies and the way-back-when stations, kind of on a par with our own KGW or KEX moved from News/Talk to Sports radio.

KIRO 710 AM's logo, which I've expostulated on before, looked like this:

KIRO 710 Old Logo

And here's the horizontal display:

KIRO 710 Horizontal

I've also gone on at length about the simple briliiant genius of this design (follow the slant on the end of the red stripe to the down stroke of the R on the top version and the W on the bottom. This is pure inspiration.

KIRO news talk format has moved to 97.3 FM (I've also opined on the FM version of the logo, which I'm not crazy about). It was apparently in preparation of 710 AM becoming a branch of the ESPN broadcasting empire. Here's the new logo:

New KIRO Logo 2008

I've enrolled in two schools of thought as far as this logo goes:

  1. Technical Considerations: A logo that works. It's not spectacular though. It won't win any awards. But it does its job well with admirable economy. Most notable is the way the ESPN "font" (If there is such a thing) is translated successfully into the entire logo. The letterforms in the frequency and the city name harmonize very well with the ESPN logo, though there are places (the counter in the A and something I can't quite put my finger on about the S) that make it look like a font that was obliqued by the designer, which strikes a sour chord with me. The choice of the form to depict the 1 in the frequency number is well done, as that allows the 7 to snug in withougt looking forced on. The sound waves work alright, though the logo could do without them.

  2. Emotional considerations: a real let-down. I fell in silly love with the KIRO 710 AM logo the second I saw it. I've explained before why. The internal structure, the artful sketch of the Space Noodle ... simple but clicks. Nails it nicely. This ... well, there's a great deal to be said for chain store signage. I think it looks awful on a broadcast station. At least they got the red and black from the old logo in there.

I'll expand a little on the thought in point 2, the "chain-store signage" thought. I've listened to radio an awful long time, and can't help (from growing up listening to local giants like KEX and Salem stations like the late great KSLM and KBZY as well as Corvallis's KFLY, which was an AM station back in the 80s) but identify a call-sign with a locality. It's part of the local personality. A skillfully-done local station identity becomes, to me, like part of the local heart and soul. It doesn't have to have such location-specific features but it does have to be unique.

Your local broadcast outlets are part of the local personality. Divest it of local identification and ... well, meh. No passion. No connection. Just the word "SEATTLE" is kind of pale in comparison with the artfully done Space Noodle sketch that expresses all sorts of Seattle intangibles. It signifies the heart and soul of Seattle.

So the re-branding will no doubt work, but it leaves something behind that's valuable. And that's kind of sad, I think.

(H/T to Ben, the gentleman from Seattle. Thanks Ben!)

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14 November 2008

Stupid Newbie QuarkXPress Tricks (that apply to InDesign too!)


While, through what layout work I've been able to snag, QuarkXPress has had no part (I'm surprised at how little demand there is for QuarkXPress layout-artistry hereabouts) I do have experience in XPress and use it with a certain amount of joy when afforded the chance.

It was the first layout tool I learned deeply, and you always remember your first.

Today I stumbled on an article here (via Ripenews) titled Most Frequent Errors Made By QuarkXPress Users, and it's a good review. The mistakes noted here are easy to make if you don't know the program very deeply, and well worth avoiding. I think that layout files should be built as tightly as possible, with nothing wasted or sloppily done. It's easy to avoid sloppiness in your Quark or InDesign files. It's even easier to let things lay about, so to speak.

A few things really spoke to me as being universal truths.

For example, this gem:

Whenever you create a new project in QuarkXPress, the New document window appears. Beginners will often create a new project and click OK without paying much attention to the settings in the New Project dialogue. Quark keeps the settings from the last project you created. If these are inappropriate for the document you are about to create, change the page size, orientation, margin and column guides as necessary.

Whenever I'm starting a new InDesign document, then the first thing I do is to take a quick look at the New Document window. A few extra moments spent here can save a bit of work down the line. Also, both Quark and InDy have a curious property; settings changed within a document production tend to persist for that document only, whereas settings changed when no document is open tend to persist session to session, as general program settings. This can be used to your benefit, depending on your personal style; the downside of that is that it's easy to forget, meaning that you can find yourself endlessly twiddling settings that you thought were already at a different default.

A little forethought here means a little less frustration later on, and in the pinch, a little less frustration may be all the edge you need to get that document out.

Here's another good one:

Another common error is excessive use of ruler guides. These are created by dragging either the vertical or horizontal ruler onto the page and can be used to align elements using Quark's handy snap-to-guides features. Snapping two elements to the same guide ensures that their edges are aligned. This is a great feature when used in moderation. However, a lot of users create so many guides that it becomes difficult to see which guide relates to which element on the page. In general, guides are quicker to use but measurements are more accurate.

I tend to try to use as many guides as I absolutely need, no more and certainly no less. If you're not careful about creating new guides, then you'll have an absolute rainbow net (I tend to use layers to organize content) and after a point you're putting things on the wrong layer or aligning them to the wrong thing.

The best way to go about this is to establish a grid early on and try to keep to that grid. Having a well-designed grid will automatically give you enough alignment possibilities that you can have a nice, loose, dynamic layout (if you want) or a tight, ordered layout (if you prefer) without breaking the grid very often.

If you really want alignment of objects, the best way is to use the program's alignment tools (in Quark, it's called "Space & Align", in InDy, is't the Align palette (if you use CS2 or before) or Align panel (CS3 and later)). Position your main graphic element where you want it, then use the alignment tool to align dependent elements to it. Your screen layout will be a lot less cluttered and you'll be less cross in crunch situations, and that, again, is what we always want.

The article's advice on text boxes doesn't comlpletely transfer to Indy; this is one of the chief differences (some of us say advantages) over XPress. In Indy, you can create a "frame" which can then be made into a graphics frame (Quarksters say "picture box") or text frame (in Quark, "text box") as you will. You can even insert graphics into text frames as inline graphics. Even though there are text and frame tools ... the Indy analog ... you don't have to go that route if you don't want to – you can style your frame and then convert it to a text or graphic frame.

The article has wise remarks to make about making sure you're using a box tool as opposed to a content tool (the appropriate Indy analogs distribute between the Select tool (black arrow), Direct Select (white arrow), and Text tools. Moreover, you can double-click any unassigned frame and it will become a text frame; double-click any text frame to begin editing content, or double-click any graphic frame to go to the Direct Select tool and scale and resize the graphic content.

In general, it's good to be aware of the status of the tool you're using. This will come with practice.

One more tip I'd particularly like to share:

QuarkXPress novices also tend to create far more text boxes than they need to. The worst error people will make is to create a separate box for each different style of text. In actual fact, you can put as many different formats as you like in a single Quark text box. You only need separate text boxes for items which have no direct relation to each other within the layout or which require conflicting text box attributes. So if some of your text is spans two columns and another bit spans one column, you will clearly need two boxes.

In the OryCon 30 books I just completed, I used a minimum of textual frames. Each booklet was about 40 pages long (10 or 11 double-sides spreads, saddle-stitched) but, in the "pocket program" I used one box for the general information, one box for the panelist listing, one box for the panel listing. These three boxes contained more than eighty per cent of the content of the book.

They were, of course, not one single big box, but threaded boxes arranged on my grid (remember what I said about grid? Well, setting one up first-off meant that all I had to do was place and style the content. That's one huge step saved). At first, I imagined that threading amongst a long line of frames would be a chore; if you adjust the size of one frame enough, changes ripple through the other frames and you have to do a little tweaking up and down the line.

But really, it's not that much work. If you're intense about your layout (and no layout artist I know if isn't), you'll be tweaking up and down the production anyway. And the fewer stories you have, the less headaches you'll have over the long run.

Once again, the whole article is here. Worthwhile reading.

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13 November 2008

If You Like Urusla K LeGuin, Hayao Miyazaki, And Northwest SF/Fantasy Writers, Do I Have An Auction For You!


The Endeavour Award (http://www.osfci.org/endeavour/) in an annual award given by the PNW SF/Fantasy community to encourage the growth of local writers. It's awarded annually at OryCon, and comes with a $1,000 grant. This year's nominees include:

  • The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari

  • Bright of the Sky: Book One of the Entire and the Rose by Kay Kenyon

  • Not Flesh Nor Feathers by Cherie Priest

  • Powers by Ursula K. LeGuin

  • The Silver Ship and the Sea by Brenda Cooper

Miyazaki Gardener FigurineIn pursuit of fundraising to encourage future writers (NB: This is a Good Thing™) Portland's own Ursula K. LeGuin has donated two Hayao Miyazaki statuettes; one a Gardener from Laputa: Castle In the Sky and the other a castle from Howl's Moving Castle. The figurines (pictured, the Gardener) and notes from LeGuin for provenance's sake (see also picture).

Details on the auction can be found here, so read them!

The auction will begin on eBay on Saturday, 22 November 2008, and the link to the auction will then magically appear on the page linked to just above.

LeGuin NoteSo, if you have a few hot dollars in your pocket and you want to help support PNW writers of cool books, then consider dropping them on the Endeavour award. You get two Miyazaki figureines and notes from Ursula, Endeavour Award gets mo'money. Win-win!

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12 November 2008

This Will Be Interesting To Follow ...


The blog of the transition team for the President-Elect.

It's attached to the transition's website, Change.gov.

Design is nice, airy, and tight.

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How Does Big Fat Brain Follow A Legend? With A New Show ...


With an new series ... Agency Of Record. Here's the trailer.

It will be huuuuuuuuuuuger than YSAP. Seriouslys!

21 Nov 2008, bitchez ... Mark it down! You know what to do! MyDamnChannel.com!

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10 November 2008

Design Post-Partum Relief


The OryCon 30 Program guides (Pocket Program, Souvenir Book) have been uploaded to the printer and I'll be proofing very very soon now. I gave birth to two beautiful babies and sent them upstream to print.

I think I got them in time. My service bureau contact is green-green, so far.

There's one person on OryCon staff at this point that I'd like to thank to the world. Amanda, if you read this blog, I'll say it to the world: you rock lady, and no mistake. This project would be most shambolic if not for you.

Stay tuned for excerpts from my latest opus.

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07 November 2008

Not Quite All In The Family


Jeff Merkley's election as junior US Senator from Oregon (Senator Merkley has such a charming ring to it) averted a strange and interesting sort of record.

Gordon Smith happens to be part of a branch of the legendary Udall family, of whose name the most famous and well known to this generation would be perhaps Mo Udall, the congressman from Arizona's 2nd who Jimmy Carter defeated intraparty to become the Democratic nominee for President in 1976.

Actually you may know that. What you may not know that he's second cousins (to be precise, double-second cousins ... I'd explain it, but my eyes just glazed over) to Mark Udall, Democratic junior-Senator elect from Colorado, and Tom Udall, Democratic junior-Senator elect from New Mexico. Had Gordon been successful in re-election, there would have for the first time been three members from a single family holding Senate seats.

There are 100 Senate seats. There are 300,000,000 USAians. I mean, what are the odds here? You guys run the numbers, my brain is doing layout for the OryCon pocket program book.

On the downside, Gordon can't show his cousins around the Capitol. Upside? Probably would have been a little awkward.

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06 November 2008

I'm Actually Doing Print Design Amidst The Roar Of The Crowd


It's still unpaid, but it's some of the best volunteering I've ever done: the program books for OryCon 30.

It's something I've always dreamt of doing.

Me and Indy CS3 know each other much too well right now, but I'm staring down the open barrel of a locked and loaded deadline.

Oh, well ... designing under the gun is just more fun.

Hey ... that's not half bad. Someone make a note of that one.

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President Obama: The Complete Victory Speech


I know quite a few other people are doing this, but I want to chime in too.

Love him or hate him, this is by far the best, smartest, brightest and most positive and hopeful political victory speech yet uttered since the days of ... well, pretty much ever.

Take it away, Mr President-Elect:

Election Night – Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 – Chicago, Illinois

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

obama logoIt’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

The Star Spangled BannerI know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

I feel as though I've exhaled after holding my breath for almost eight years.


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Repeat After Me: Tim Hibbetts Is NEVER Wrong


Been busy the last twelve hours, so I couldn't follow things as close as I'd like to have.

But, catching bits and pieces from the media coverage, after Jeff re-overtook El Gordo in the afternoon, the lead remained small for a while but Jeff's campaign didn't have to look back.

Just down the street, where Jeff actually lives, cars were parked outside his house all day as friends came by to help him watch the results.

And then, last night, the media started calling it; first, KGW, then The Big O.

Some outlets are relcutant to call the election as also is, understandably, the Smith campaign.

But it looks like the Real Democrat is winning.

And Tim Hibbetts remains the way to bet.

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05 November 2008

Merkley's Got The Lead Back


About 1,200 up now, according to KPTV

Merkley, 645711. Smith, 644544.

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Merkley's Closing In


Gap's down to just over 2,000 now.

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Tim Hibbetts and the Case of the Disappearing Checkmark


Last night Tim Hibbetts at KPTV called it for Merkley, and I went with that, knowing that Tim seems never ever to be wrong.

We are on edge here watching the Smith lead, of course. We think Jeff should win! But the interesting thing is how the results on the KPTV web page have been displayed.

Hibbetts, noting that the the majority of the Multnomah County results had not been released (only 72 per cent of the vote has still been counted as of this writing, Smith at approx 623,000 and Merkley at approx 612,000, around a 12,000 vote difference) stood by his prediction as the night wore on and Jeff's lead became Gordon's lead.

Since I'm obsessive about Jeff winning, I stared at that KPTV web page for a lot longer than I should have. Eventually, sometime during the night ... about 3 am or so ... the red check declaring Jeff the winner came off.

In the morning, tho', on GDO, Tim's word was reported: he's standing by his projection, because the Multnomah vote still remains largely uncounted. And there's more than enough Multnomah County votes left over to swing this election the other way.

The checkmark went right back on.

Whoa. Just checked the KPTV page. Jeff's gained about 4,000 while Gordon's only up another 1000. Looks like the lead's shrinking. 625994 to 616745. Smith's lead was as great as 15000 at one point when I looked.

Jack's got a good explanation as to why it's premature to count Jeff out just yet.

We're staying with Jeff too.

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04 November 2008

Election Night Speeches


Two different speeches, two slightly different worlds:

  • Barack Obama: He speaks from the heart. It's nice to have someone like that talk to me and not at me.

  • John McCain: If he'd of run his campaign with the class he delivered that speech with, he might have had more of a chance of winning.

And how about that crowd at the McCain party, huh? One thing about republicans ... they know how to keep it classy.

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The Real Democrat is Winning


On KPTV, Tim Hibbetts has called it for Merkley.

And Hibbetts is never wrong.

Update: The thing about Hibbetts is, even though I can't see what he's thinking, I understand where he's going: All uncounted vote totals are not created equal. So, while KOIN's election analyst was noting that there were still 40 per cent of the vote yet to count and was reluctant to call it, Hibbetts observed that the areas that remained uncounted were primarily from Multnomah County (which we can expect to go hard for the Merk) and in the rural Oregon counties which are Smith's strength and reliably republican, he's not winning by the margins he once did.

For example: Hibbetts (I'm working on memory here) said that while Deschutes County was voting Smith, the margin was much, much smaller than in 2002 ... I think he said that it was right now something around only 2000 votes. And with the Multnomah vote still not completely counted, even though 40 per cent of the vote remains to be tallied, what's left over will more than likely go for Smith.

This is why when Tim talks, you should listen.

Repeat after me: Tim Hibbetts is never wrong.

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