29 September 2011

[teh funnay] Movies We're Not Sure We Want To See: Baldwins In The Mist

2709.At first we thought that this was a "Movie We'd Like To See", but the more we think about it the more we're not so sure:

Actually, I rather like Alec, and Billy is to be commended for his own efforts trying to remake Portland into Indiewood. But it's just so easy to make fun of Baldwins. So, I am a little guilty.

Still, I've got to wonder - isn't this the time of year they clone the newest Baldwin?

[comics] Comics Code Authority Seal Now Belongs To The Good Guys

2708.The unassuming little mark you see illustrated hereunto is the seal of approval of the Comics Code Authority, and as of today, it's switched sides.

Back in the day when self-censorship was essential to stay in business (as William Gaines found to his travail - fortunately, that guy never would lay down) The CCA stamp was a powerful thing. Having it meant advertisers would like you, and if they liked you, the money would follow.

Times have changed. More channels exist; Marvel and DC have their own ratings systems, and even Archie comics have given up using it. The Comics Code Authority has died with not just no bang, but not even a whimper.

Through legal means I'm certain I have no means of understanding, the stamps new owners are the CBLDF - The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, standing for First Amendment rights for creators:
(CBLDF Executive Director Charles) Brownstein adds “It’s a progressive change that the Comics Code seal, which is yesterday’s symbol of comics censorship, will now be used to raise money to protect the First Amendment challenges comics face in the future. That goal probably would have been unimaginable to the Code’s founders, who were part of a generation of comics professionals that were fleeing a witch-hunt that nearly trampled comics and any notion that they deserved any First Amendment protection.”
So now the stamp has changed sides, and it's not at all a bad thing.

28 September 2011

[teh funnay] As A Matter Of Fact, Gordon Ramsay WOULD Make A Kickass Russian Army Officer

2707.Replaceface is the project of a so-far-anonymous artist that does the old mash-up with the unexpected twist of putting modern celebrities and well-known-personalities' heads on the tops of uniform portraits of Imperial Russian Army officers done by the English portraitist George Dawe during the late 1810s and early 1820s, all officers who helped successfully repelled Napoleon's invasion. There were 329 of these portraits done, and Replaceface has perched heads such as Mickey Rourke, Sean Connery, iSteve, and, of course, Charlie Sheen.

Tiger blood, indeed. My favorite, though:

Gordon Ramsay, of course. You know he would have made a mean, kickass officer.

The mashup is amusing, the technique immaculate. 

27 September 2011

[teh funnay] Mormons Are Borg? Juxtaposition Funnies, #1

2706.Sometimes YouTube's related lists and the sponsored video work together to suggest disturbing connections which may (or may not) lurk beneath the surface of This Modren World. I swear the next screenclipping is not Photoshopped:
Now, you all know how these things work. You go looking for things and YouTube's engine (they all are engines these days, like you'd find them under the hood of the car or sommat) serves up suggestions based on whateverall it is you're doing. So, I go looking for videos about the Borg … and YouTube serves up a promoted video about Mormons.

Artificial intelligence, artificial stupidity, or artificial humor in dubious taste? You be the judge. This blog offers no opinion one way or the other on Borg, Mormons, or religion in any form, for what that is worth. 

[design] Infographic Cliches You've No Doubt Seen

2705.Design humor is at its best when it's metareferential, sometimes.

Via Google+ user Dustin Hoffmann (no, not the actor) and served forth from the blog of FastCompany, there's a very chuckle-funny summary of the most popular infographic cliches:

That's four of them. To see the whole magila, click on the graphic or the link in the text above to the FastCompany blog. The artist is Alberto Antoniazzi, whose site is http://www.albertoantoniazzi.com/

25 September 2011

[comics] How iSteve Ruined Comics

2704.(via Gizmodo) Well, iSteve didn't ruin comics, per se, but Apple, with it's dead-brilliant design regime, have made technology that was once easily renderable … such as the phone, the TV, and such - so subtly designed that, when they're used, they need almost as much exposition as a supporting character:

Compare with the idea off a man getting outraged at a magazine or newspaper article. You don't need to be told what that is. This? Why is that tiny replica of the 2001 monolith making that monkey so angry?

The subtle, usually elegant design regime inspired by the Apple iLine of, oh, just about everything, has created articles that are beginning to require entire new ways of storytelling, causing a sort of evolution in comics. Just how do you tell a story with props that, depending on the context, need to have their stories told before you know what they and what the characters are doing with the small oblong objects that could be, well, just about anything?

Tom Pappalardo asks the question in the article Cartooning vs Technology: How Steve Jobs Ruined Comicsbut he's trying to make a point with that title. He don't really hate iSteve, or the toys he created. But it's a smart, funny article that asks a good question.

[design] Books We'd Like To See: I Am Not Claudius, By Derek Jacobi

2703.Of course, the character Claudius never was as big for Jacobi as the signature character of the inspiration of this photoshoppery:

22 September 2011

[or_liff] Ringo Not Here; Try Next Ocean Liner

2702.Remember that ginormous luxury yacht (actual pronounciation throatwobbler mangrove) that everyone thought Ringo Starr was on that was supposed to be history-buffing Astoria?

Well, it was a luxury yacht. But it wasn't Ringo's.

Yet another Oregonized brush with fame averted.

[design] It's Lorem Ipsum's World; We Just Consecectur There

[bloggage] Confirmation That I Kick Ass: ZehnKatzen Enters The Alltop Zone

2670.Apparently, as Aretha once sang, we been livin' right:

Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

As of now, the feed of this blog has been added to the aggregator Alltop, which is the niftiest thing that's happened of late. I'm in the Graphic Design topic, aber naturlich, which can be peeped here:


Now it's time to really up my game. And this is quite an inspiration to do so.

That badge - and the newsfeed from the Alltop aggregator - will henceforth be found in the Connections section of the sidebar, up immediately to the right of the topmost posting.

Thank you, Guy Kawasaki!

21 September 2011

[design] When You're Tired of Mother&@!*ing Lorem on a Mother&@!*ing Ipsum!

2699.All credit goeth to Darrel Troxel for stumbling on this one.

Placeholder text. To the experienced designer, even your regular Lorem Ipsum becomes a bit tiresome. Sometimes you're just Puckish enough to want to imbue a certain sense of style, and Klingon Ipsum and Hipster Ipsum have become dreary, and nobody cares you know Etaoin Shrdlu and all the little Shrdlu kids anymore.

What to do, what to do.

How about a little Pulp Fiction, instead?
Do you see any Teletubbies in here? Do you see a slender plastic tag clipped to my shirt with my name printed on it? Do you see a little Asian child with a blank expression on his face sitting outside on a mechanical helicopter that shakes when you put quarters in it? No? Well, that's what you see at a toy store. And you must think you're in a toy store, because you're here shopping for an infant named Jeb.
That was the "Slipsum Lite" version. Attitude without the salty language. Slipsum comes in "classic" Ipsum … no Samuel L. or attitude, and full-on NSFW Samuel L. Ipsum, mutherf&@#$er.

Just go to http://www.slipsum.com. The proper choices are on the upper right of the screen. And fill that placeholder text with some pulp ipsum.

19 September 2011

[net_liff] "Spot the Unicorn", Zach Dundas Twitter Edition

2698.If you love something, they say, set it free.

Whoever came up with that folksy aneurysm must have had the internet in mind. Latterly, this bit of Unicorn-oriented Photoshoppery:

Which I created in March, 2010, has been showing up in interesting places. The newest find? The Twitter icon for Portland Monthly editor, Zach Dundas:

Am I irritated? Hardly! Flattered! Look, I know this about that; when you create something like this and fling it down the 'tubes, it'll get lifted and passed about. That was kind of the idea here. Right now, it's as close as I'm getting to fame, so, hey, it's cool. Definitely cool.

Remember the unicorns, my friends. You don't know you flattered me, Zach, but if you read this article, now you do. Thanks. Long may Saint Unicorn fly. Even though he hath no wings, yes, I know this.

[bloggage] My Dallas/Space:1999 Theme Mashup Gets Kudo

2697.Occasionally someone I've never known before notices something nifty I did and gives me a warm fuzzy about it, and I'm flattered and a bit happy.

This time, it was a TV theme-mashup I did some time ago … The opening to the 80s nighttime soap Dallas as seen through the stylings of the opening to Space:1999. And here it is:

It was so honored by the blog at Channel-37.net here: http://channel-37.net/?p=1727. It came in as a tie for fifth place with a dead-clever treatment Star Trek: The Next Generation as a Love Boat (even had Charo!).

In that company, a tie for fifth is nifty indeed! Thanks, Channel 37!

15 September 2011

[pdx_liff] Sam Elliott Watch

2696.That rugged Portland resident, actor Sam Elliott, is popping up here and there:

  1. Here, Facebook Presence PDXPipeline catches a uniquely gray-touseled head from the back in what we presume is the Sunnyside Zupan's market (SE Portland, they say … the only SE one I knew of is along SE Belmont in Sunnyside).
  2. And, here, world-famous Portland Mercury raconteur, lothario and occasional editor Wm.™ Stephen Humphrey happens to meet Sam who's stopped in to the Merc offices to say "hi" … and causes Ezra Ace Caraeff to man-cry (via iPhone).
Of course, those who are acquainted with local personalities know that Sam Elliott graduated from David Douglas High School, near my home out 122nd way, and it's said that his mom is still alive (about 97 years old, I think) and still lives out in this area.

So, to recap, Sam Elliott: Awesome, Sam Elliott sighted twice via PDX social media: Awesome, Sam Elliott's attitude about his mom: Awesome, and David Douglas High School graduates: Awesome.

14 September 2011

[OR_liff] True Oregon Facts!, Volume One

2695.Being an Actual Oregonian, born in Actual Oregon and All That, I can be considered to be an authority of Actual Oregon Stuff, provided you haven't Actually Checked With Anyone Else First.

But nevermind that now! I have decided, having little else to share, to share my immense trove of genetically-coded Actual Oregon Knowlege with you. Herewith, the first volume of True Oregon Facts!
  • Scotts Mills, Oregon, was founded specifically so that the residents of Molalla would have a town they'd be allowed to make fun of.
  • The locality of Four Corners, just outside of Salem, was named because State Street and Lancaster Drive met at an intersection with four corners to it. This also gave rise to the Intersection Act of 1905, which ruled that, to prevent confusion with Four Corners, all subsequent intersections must three or fewer or five or more corners to them. This greatly restricted urban sprawl.
  • Eugene, Oregon is only a legend and has no basis in fact; its reputation is based solely on a Ken Kesey novel in which the mythical town was laid out, titled "One Flew Over The Duck's Nest".
  • Oregon's only "town", the Town of Hammond, was made extinct in 1991 when it was eaten whole by the mayor of adjacent Warrenton. To this day, Warrentonian children are made to behave with veiled threats by their parents that if they don't shape up, the mayor's coming over.
  • Celilo Falls' name was based on a Chinuk word meaning "Great Thundering Water the White Man will soon submerge behind a dam, but at least we get to sell him fish at the side of the road, livin' the dream."
  • The city of Astoria was founded by about 50 New Yorkers who took a wrong turn on the Triborough bridge, found themselves 3,000 miles from civilization, and were too arrogant to admit to each other that they didn't know where they were.
  • Enterprise, Oregon was named after the USS Enterprise … just not the one you're probably thinking of.
  • We actually have a town called Milton-Freewater. We're all trying to figure out WTF about that, too.
  • Roseburg was named for a mysterious, gigantic floating flower of which only 1/10th showed above the surface of the South Umpqua River.
  • Frank Herbert write the iconic science fiction novel Dune after spending some time in Florence near the Oregon Dunes, but it was really the dry and arid social life there that influenced him. The Fremen, it is said, were inspired by the Florence City Council. Nobody knows where he came up with the spice. That stuff's whacked, man.
  • Scio, in Linn County, comprises 3/10ths of a square mile … all of it land, broken dreams, despair, and weariness.
  • Chinuk Wawa - Chinook jargon, the trade language of the Northwest native tribes - as 12 words for "waterfall", fifteen words for "salmon", forty words for "rain shower", but only three for "leveraged buyout".
  • Salem" was a name chosen for the capital city that was inspired by the Santiam name, "place of rest", or "Chemeketa". Other alternative names were "Kickoffyershoes", "Youkidsstayouttamyyard", or Lars Larson's suggestion, "R'lyeh".
  • The Willamette Valley is estimated to have been inhabited for the last 10,000 years … but only stylishly for the last 30 or so.
  • "The Dalles" were taken from the French "La Dalles". It's said that "La" is French for "The". Nobody knows what the hell "Dalles" are. Or were. Or if there's more than one of them. Or … hey! Look over there! Milton-Freewater!
  • Tom McCall was Oregon's first cyborg governor. All governors since (with the exception of Kulongoski) were, to some degree, augmented bionically in a plan to create the perfect Governor. Saxton was a clone. We're ALL still trying to figure out what Sizemore is/was.
  • Oregon's current motto is "She Flies With Her Own Wings",changed from "The Union" (1957-1987). Other mottos we used include "Between Washington and California" (1901-02), "Pull My Finger" (Most Holiday Seasons Between 72 and 76), "Not Idaho" (Jun-Aug 1943), "No, Cut The RED Wire" (37-39), "Take the Red Pill, Neo" (Odd numbered months in 97), "Home Of Leverage" (Sundays 8pm, 7pm Central) and "Nadine, Get Me A 6-Pack of Beer At the Plaid Pantry" (incomes of $30K and under)
My personal research is coming up with new discoveries all the time. So stay tuned to this blog and I'll post them … as soon as I can find them. 

True Oregon Facts! May we advise you to Accept No True Oregon Fact Subsitutes? Ours are the original and genuine!

10 September 2011

[liff] The New Incuriosity

2694.A very insightful article about the new crop of authors, many of which don't feel that they should also be readers.

Apparently, the journaling quality of these works lends itself to Justin Bieber fan fiction laced with text-message acronyms. Notions of “craft” are not a real issue for these authors. But let there be no doubt, if these are the sorts of books publishers can sell, then these are the books the publishers will champion. It follows, that in the same way certain fiction writers recognize aspects of themselves in books about writing fiction and propagate more of it, fans of social networking fiction will see themselves in it and continue this new tradition. Driven by sales, it will become popular and the thought of reading the canon, or even Danielle Steel, will be considered tedious and unnecessary.

Read more: The Consequences of Writing Without Reading — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers.

It explains a lot as to why some modern fiction is so ultimately non-compelling and self-indulgent. The article is well worth  your time.

09 September 2011

[logo] If This Logo Doesn't Return To You, They Call It A Stick

2693.As reported by LogoLounge.com, a major rebranding has occurred on an Australian air carrier, and it caught my eye because of its cool modern style and the whimsy beneath the style.

You've heard of Qantas, no doubt … that's probably Australia's most famous airline. For about the last twenty years, though, there's been a up and comer. You haven't heard of it. Partly because it's just all about Australia right now (a country that's a continent, and easily as big as the USA), and partly because the name - Strategic Air - is kind of strange. It sounds like a very serious airline, one that only type-A business people and members of the military might enjoy.

The name grew from its original name and remit - Strategic Air Services, an airplane brokerage company. But now, it's Air Australia … and I love the new look.

The colors are light an appropriate, but not low-contrast. And since Quantas has staked out the 'roo as well as the koala, what great national symbol remains – why, the boomerang, of course.

I adore the boomerang design here. It's deft and clever. Allows a visual unity with the wordmark and lives comfortably on the tail. The boomerang is one of the most wickedly-funny and wickedly-clever things ever devised … a stick which comes back to you. Uniquely Australian. And it transmits a positive message … if you take an Air Australia flight, you're sure to come back, if that's what you mean to do.

[branding] When You "Make Your Brand Work" For A Bigger Brand, Does That Make You Seem Phony?

2692.This may sound odd coming from me, since I don't really even care for Project Runway, but I happen to think that Tim Gunn is one of the most fun TV personalities out there right now.

The whole elegant, confident "Make It Work" thing. He's turned his personality into a pretty powerful brand and it's really taken him off and taken him places. As a matter of fact, he's recognizable and big enough now that he can hire his brand out to promote other brands, as this recently-released commercial where Expedia gets the Project Runway treatment …

I'm hardly a brand guru (yet), but I get a certain feeling when I see things like this.

Now, I've got to say, the commercial is very slick, and nails the PR vibe with preciseness. And it's not unentertaining. Expedia got their money's worth, and more. Tim Gunn's smoothness and personality lend a certain style to Expedia's brand that's hip and unique.

But here's where I think this might be going a bit far. I'll try not to ramble, because I'm going way subjective here … but then, that's what branding is all about.

Tim Gunn's signature phrases … Make it work, Major WOW factor … were uniquely him. They expressed his personality in ways nothing else quite could and that nobody else could ever own. He is suave and smooth in a way that's obviously sincere and authentic. I get the impression that, when we see Tim doing his Timness, we aren't seeing an act. He's not a put-on.

However, when he does it in the service of another brand, that removes a the honestness about it. More's the pity, it seems insincere now. I'm left with the impression that Expedia has enhanced his brand … but Tim's unenhanced his, and now, it's not as fun as it used to be.

Now, I'm not exactly saying that it's a bad thing to hire your brand out. Branding is a tool. It's a powerful tool with more edges than a Gillette disposable razor (see what I did there?). It can be used for evil, good, or awesome. But I do wonder if it's always a good thing to hire out your brand to support someone else's for advertising in this way. And branding, when it's used in this way, to me, sucks a bit of the sincerity out of human emotion.

Or … am I just being too sensitive here? Obviously this use of Tim Gunn's identity to promote Expedia obviously moved me in a way.

I'd be interested to know what people think. Comment, please.

08 September 2011

[web_design] Jim Greenfield For Congress, Now Lorem Ipsum Free!

2691.For a few posts I poked fun at Oregon 1st Congressional District Republican contender Jim Greenfield for apparently posting a website that consisted of a template and significant contributions from a Mr. Lorem Ipsum … that is, remarkable areas of placeholder text.

In fairness I am happy point out now that he has a proper campaign website with not a trace of placeholder text thereon, and its address is actually http://jimgreenfieldforcongress.com. H/T to his campaign manager, Richard P. Burke for pointing this out.

[type] It's A Wood Type Revival!

2690.Via the HOW Blog: Wood Type Revival is an attempt (so far, succeeding) at bringing wood type into the digital age as OpenType fonts.

The way they're doing it is to print sheets on a Vandercook proof press (probably not too much different from this one) and scanning the result, then digitizing it.

So far, they have four sumptuous faces done, including a very delightful Roycroft:

Each so far will set you back $15.00.

The address to know is http://www.woodtyperevival.com.

[art] More People Have Walked On The Moon Than Photographed The Analemma

2689.And just what is this analemma?

For those that don't know, if you record the position of the sun in the sky at the same time each day and plot that, it will form a long, graceful figure-8, with an angle that depends on the time of day and the latitude. Many globes have an analemma on the Pacific hemisphere, in the middle of the ocean where there's room to put it.

This is a difficult thing to actually photograph, of course. This article claims that the analemma has only been successfully photographed seven times but if you run a Google image search you'll find a few more than that, or at least it seems that way.

A close approximation to what it should look like would be this photograph from Wikipedia (by a creator credited as "jailbird"):

You would, of course, have a figure-8 pattern of solar images without the connecting lines and such. This is a simulation of what an analemma would look like. The images themselves are copyrighted, so I won't be posting them here, but here are some links:

This link (http://www.astro.lsa.umich.edu/undergrad/labs/analemma/index.html) contains Dennis DiCiocco's analemma image - reportedly the first successful attempt at such a work, done ca. 1979. 

This link (http://www.perseus.gr/Astro-Solar-Analemma.htm) contains the analemma work of a Grecian named Anthony Ayiomamitis, who has given his analemmae (?) suitable Greek landscapes to provide a certain thrilling effect.

And, this one (http://www.zullophoto.com/sub_analemmaphoto.html), the photography site of Frank Zullo, has some very accomplished and moody shots taken from the American southwest.

The question is raised, of course … how can one do this? It takes a great deal of planning. By hook or by crook, you have to be in the same place with the same camera pointing the same direction several times a year (all 365 don't seem necessary - I find the ones taken every few days or week or so to be a bit more interesting than one taken every single day - which would form a solid line. Because the real challenge for these photographers seems to be to get all the solar exposures on the same frame of film. Noticeably, the two most successful analemma photographers live in areas of extended fair weather - namely, Greece and Arizona respectfully. Enough cloudy weather and there's no use to it. 

The photography of the Sun is of course taken with a very dark filter. This results in a series of exposures of the Sun but naturally excludes all the scenery. After the analemma is duly recorded, however, this photo can be composited into a photo of the scenery taken with a more routine lens, resulting in the analemma display.

This is something, quite clearly, most of us won't find the time, camera, or coordination to do. Fortunately, these people have done it for us. And the effect is not only quite lovely, but a little bit surreal.

06 September 2011

[digital_tools] Bean: More Than TextEdit, Less Than MSWord, Free-As-In-Beer

2688.I like little tools that do a lot. When it comes to creating digital text documents, I like programs that are just enough - not too much, and definitely not too little.

And I know from too little. I used EDLIN.

Bean is a nifty, extremely lightweight, free (as in beer) word processor for OS X. Well, not really a word processor, actually more of a rich-text editor, but it's got more and finer (and more intuitive) controls on text formatting than TextEdit does. It's a hell of a lot lighter than MSWord or NeoOffice - nothing against NeoOffice, but it's a behemoth when all you want to do is quickly throw together text files or edit an RTF. And while I heartily approve of TextWrangler, it always was a bit abstruse for me … more a programmers' text editor than a writers'.

It's got all the useitude and slickitiude and good looks that you expect from an OS X application, and it was done by someone who came at it from a UI direction. It's not meant to replace Word or your favorite full-service wp,  but why go out for a big plate of greasy food when all you wanted was soup and half-a-sandwich?

It requires a PPC or Intel Mac, OS X 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6. It has not been tested on but may well run on 10.7.

Download Bean here: http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html.

(Via Cult Of Mac at Facebook)

05 September 2011

[web_design] The Sort Of Website You'd Expect From The Country That Gave Us Existentialism

2687.When I was a kid, there was this toy. It was in the form of a sort of crank, which was attached to a wooden block with two channels in a cross. Two sliders were in each of the cross-channels, and the handle of the crank was attached to both, and the leverage was such that, as you rotated the crank handle, one slider would be pulled in its channel, then, as the limit of that would be reached, the other one would be pulled through its channel … over and over and over … never quite touching but coming very close, and if you did it long enough it would make you this sort of crazy, that you'd vary the cadence of the thing, trying to make the two sliders meet, which was, of course, impossible.

Sort of my introduction to existentialism, I guess.

Anyway, somehow I stumbled on this German site, Nirgendwo is irgendwo, http://www.nirgendwo.de/. Go ahead and go there, and come right back. I'll wait.

Back? Good. Did you see what they did there?

First you see a black screen with the words as such:

This, if you'd not yet figured it out, means nowhere is somewhere. Mousing around the screen you find no links except for over the words, and when you click it, you get this:

Or, somewhere is nowhere. And when you click on that, you just go back to the other one. And that's all there is, there is nothing more. Has the online experience been better encompassed ever? It's like this bizarre German version of the taijitu

But that isn't all. If you missed it before, go back now and click the links, but this time look at the address bar.

Did you see it this time?

Not satisfied with just this sere experience, the designer didn't stop at making this one site with two pages, no sir. He/She actually put the two statements on two seperate webpages. The second phrase is at a site called http://irgendwo.de. This is truly awesome. 

Web design is complete with this website. Screw Web 2.0, or even 3.0, this transcends that. We can close up the internet and all go home now.

[pdx] The Great Seal Of The City Of Unicorns

2686.Everyone knows …

Everyone knows. Don't you just love appeals to authority? Well, everyone knows that this is the city seal of the City of Portland …

But we know what they seal they really use, don't they?

They use this seal for the really important stuff.

I'm taking something into my own hands by telling you this, I'm sure. Not my life, no … they may take away a bicycle pedal or something though.

[map_design] Cameron Booth Gets Portland's Rail Map To Grow Up

2685.While i like the TriMet rail system map and have grown to like the new TriMet empire style, it has not been lost on me that, just as the old style (which I still miss) was destined to give way eventually, this style will too, eventually, give way to another look. And I've seen the direction it ought to go.

Cameron Booth likes designing maps, and he's come up with a brilliant take on the combined Portland area rail display that makes the current look rather … well, provincial. A bit of it is at right for illustration's purposes, and the rest of his work is at his blog here. Go there, because that's where all the closeups are.

The thing I enjoy the most of it is that this map feels like it could stand, style-wise, next to the great transit maps of the world - the NYC subway, the London Underground. By eschewing the ever-present 45-degree angle, using instead 60- and 30-degree angles, he's hit upon something the other map doesn't have … a high degree of congruence with the way the Portland street and ground grid actually looks, so it's easy to picture where you might actually be in relation to the reality, but it allows it to be schematic enough to clearly show the system in a usable way.

The choice of type face is quietly sophisticated, and the choice of using a dark background brings a sort of drama to it and lets the network stand out from the supporting background. Nice touch.

The real innovation about the map is that it shows all passenger rail services here in Portland - unlike the TriMet Rail System map, which reduces the Portland Streetcar line to an unannotated line that kind of fades into the background. Showing the Amtrak lines gives a sense of a link into the greater world. To top it off, it includes proposed or under-construction lines and stops extending to Vancouver and Milwaukie.

The whole effect is very big-boy, very sophisticated, information-rich without being cluttered … very grown-up. And very well-done.

04 September 2011

[pdx] Portland: It's The Unicorns. Specifically, My Unicorn.

2684.As shared on Twittah by a longtime compadré, now known by the deliciously cryptic monicker "-b-" (Twittah: brx0), he of the Cyclotram blog, this now-famous Unicorn Photoshoppery of the erstwhile Made In Oregon sign (now the publicly-owned Portland Oregon sign)  has been shared around tumblr like a … well, like something that gets shared alot around tumblr…

It  originally appeared on this blog after I created it here (http://zehnkatzen.blogspot.com/2010/03/pdx-made-in-oregon-sign-belongs-to-city.html) and it's being shared about on tumblr here (http://fyeahportland.tumblr.com/post/9798949606/powells-fuckyeahportland-kyanpepper-i). Thank you, FYeahPortland. 

Of course the fame, wealth, power, and influence that should attach to such a notice has not yet descended upon me. I shall alert you all when it does and remind those of you who supported me over the years that positions of astoundingly embarrassing wealth and power may well be yours soon - well, as long as you have already purchased one of equal or greater value.

And so it goes.

03 September 2011

[design] Livin' The Dream, Diagrammed

2683.From the friendly folk at the How blog:

I started out wanting this sort of life. You know what? I still do. Some of it anyway.

01 September 2011

[bloggage] Blogger On The New Blogger Interface

2682.Blogger Product Manager, Chang Kim, on the new Blogger interface
It’s been a few years since we made major updates to Blogger’s look and feel, and there’s a lot more to these changes than just shiny new graphics. We’ve rewritten the entire editing and management experience from scratch so it’s faster and more efficient for you—and easier for us to update and improve over time.
That pretty much nails it. The new Blogger interface has a ton of good mojo working through it. As I earlier mentioned, I'd used a number of other offline-blog posting software, some stand-alone, some browser based, with a variety of experiences.

Why? Because the old Blogger interface was tired and non-intuitive. When they rebuilt this thing from the ground up, my friends, they did it right. Photos are now easy-peasy-lemon-crushy to place. Text formatting is now very word-processor-like, with the familiar CMD-I for italic, CMD-B for bold, CMD-U for underline. I don't have to go looking for things, and everything is where I need it … even labels are quick and easy.

This Blogger gives the new interface an enthusiastic thumbs-up, and I'd encourage every other blogger to at least give them a try. They did them up right.

[pdx] The Martians Have Landed At SE 32nd And Taylor

2681.The big castle-shaped church at 32nd and SE Taylor has a new and well-known tenant.

I first assayed it in this post, in which we found that the church - which had appeared inactive - was apparently claimed by Pastor Melissa Scott, the successor to the mantle of her late husband, the inimitable, amusing, bemusing Pastor Dr Gene Scott, perhaps the most unique televangelist the US has brought up in the last fifty years. Many were louder than him, but none more entertaining. I don't care who your pastor is, when it comes to sheer entertainment, they still labor in his shadow.

Anyway, after a comment on the older post the news broke … the colossal (and growing) Mars Hill Church, from Seattle, is coming to town, and prayer (and, no doubt, some savvy real-estate buying) got them what was the Portland branch of the comparatively moribund Scott empire.

It's very near the corner of SE Hawthorne and César E Chávez Boulevards, near a area full of, well, liberal stuff. An international youth hostel that has a bio-roof; several "world crafts" stores that sell smoking paraphernalia; a New Seasons supermarket; a New-Age apothecary where tarot readings are available; a major street recently-renamed after a left-wing political figure; and, on Friday and Saturday nights, about eight hundred thousand drunk hipsters, clubbers, and type-A personalities.

I still didn't understand why God would direct the Martians to this part of the Sunnyside neighborhood, but then I realized … the Bagdad must have played Avatar once. That must have been the last straw.

I was reviewing what the Pastor, Mark Driscoll, appears to believe. With any due respect, I shan't be joining the Martians anytime soon. I certainly wish them no ill will, and would like to remind them that their about-to-be-new neighbors are, typically, very tolerant of lifestyle choices.