30 December 2011

[type] LOL: You're Doing It Wrong.

2738.This photo (found at the URL http://www.picsthatdontsuck.com/web/Lol_Drowning.html) demonstrates exactly what what can happen in the modern world when simplification goes just a bit too far:

If it weren't for the Internet, this would be a totally-clever way of depicting a drowning man reaching for air … which it is.

Totally clever, I mean.

But with the Internet culture we all find ourselves immersed in (designers perhaps a little more than most), I defy you, depending on your age cohort, to see this as anything more than a procedure to laugh out loud, then call 911.

Pays to be cognizant of these things.

[art] Paper Zone Stores To Close

2737.It's with a heavy heart that we mark this passage, and deem it Not A Good Christmas Gift At All:
As you may have heard, we will be closing all of our Paper Zone locations. After receiving an overwhelming outpour of concern, we felt compelled to further explain our unfortunate situation. Paper Zone is a company with 20 year roots in the Northwest. We are based in Seattle, operating eight retail locations throughout Oregon and Washington. However, due to the current economic downturn, we have experienced three years of sales declines between 6%-8% annually. As a small local retailer we were unable to sustain these losses.
The economy eats another one, and it is a local business, at least local to the PNW, to Cascadia. We've enjoyed many a nice moment at the Paper Zone, they've always had good service and good selection. And local, like the other art-based businesses we prefer: I've Been Framed and Muse Art and Design.

Now, as far as I know, IBF and Muse aren't in danger of going away, but if you want them to continue, you'll continue to patronize them. Local people spending money locally, providing great local value (there's a whole lot at Muse and IBF that wont' break your bank, trust me here).

I'm not trying to lecture you guys … I know money's incredible-tight, and like me, if you can spend some, you do. I think this should make everyone aware of what happens when local businesses don't get the support they need.

They go away.

In the meantime, thanks for the memories, Paper Zone. It's been a good run. Shame it had to end.

If you want to, you can read the entire announcement at the Paper Zone's blog here, as long as it remains up.

28 December 2011

[liff] Peach On Earth, Goodwill Stores To All Men

2736.Hey, these jokes aren't so easy to write, yaknow.

The original title of this post was to be Seasonings Greetings.

Thank you. I'll be here for the forseeable future. Tip your veal, try the waitress.

26 December 2011

[pdx_liff] So Long, Just Out (1983-2011)

2735.Sad news for print publishing in the Portland area as Just Out, the alt-paper serving the LGBT community since 1983 has just now announced it has published its last.

It was a paper that could be enjoyed regardless of sexual orientation, however. It introduced my comic-readin' self to Dykes To Watch Out For, by the still-incredibly-underrated Alison Bechdel, whose soulful storytelling and rich-yet-simple style, reminiscent to me of ligne claire, told real, authentic human stories.

I suspect that the hole the loss of this media leaves in some lives will be larger than this, however.

[liff] Merry Trololo Christmas, From Mr Trololo Himself

2734.Back earlier this year, when Edward Hill, the 'Trololo' Guy, a/k/a the Russian Rickroll went viral, most people didn't know what to make of it.

Turned out he was just this happy Russian singer who was beloved by his country and his fans both during the days of Soviet rule as well as the present day. And, at age 77, he's still kickin' it, old-school Trololo-style, and still as happy and joyous as ever.

Merry-what-ever-you-call-it. Enjoy.

H/T to fellow Ellisonian John E. Williams. Thanks, guy!

20 December 2011

[net_liff] Some Facebook Cover Images If You Don't Have One Yet

2733.I enjoy the new Facebook Timeline. Visually, it's a winner, being much more visually engaging than the old profile views. And the banner - the 'cover image' - across the top can make it all hum, in a visual sense.

You may not have any idea what you'd want to have as a banner. Well, Bart Grootveld is showing off 25 of them that he considers sexy, views such as this:

They're all sized to fit the new cover photo banner area, so there shouldn't be any cutoff.

There are a few that I don't consider sexy; there's realistically-shaded versions of favorite image-macro memery such as the Y U No Guy, the Forever Alone Guy, and the Me Gusta Guy. Actually, I find them kinda disturbing. But someone might like 'em.

They're all here: http://www.bartgrootveld.com/design/25-sexy-facebook-timeline-banners/. Yeah, there're 25 of them.

[type] Pilcrow, Ampersand, Section Mark and Hedera, LLC

2732.The four marks alluded to in the title are more popularly known as "The Paragraph Sign"; "The And Sign", "That Funny Double-S", and "The Fleuron".

The article at Retinart, "Marks Unknown", (http://retinart.net/typography/marksunknown/), should smart you up a little … or at least get you to appreciate them.

16 December 2011

[diary] Diary Friday #1 … Start One

2731.This'll be the first post in the Diary Friday series, a series I hope to keep going once-a-week without fail.

Why Diary Friday? There are no end of expositional-writing memes afloat on the Internet Sea these days. In the meat of the form, I'm not really breaking any new ground here.

What I am trying to do is suggest that people, instead of doing something bloggy (nothing wrong with this, of course) do something diary. That is to say, think of writing it down and keeping it for yourself. Diaries give us a certain freedom that blogs or any other sort of online media don't. They can be kept absolutely secret (if you so choose). They can't be Googled, Yahoo'd, or searched. Your thoughts there are your own. And evidence suggests they make us more mentally-healthy. I'm of the opinion that they make us more eloquent and literate.

Thinking your thoughts and putting them on paper also preserves the time for the future. Days fly by; they fade into memory, but if you write down what delights you, moves, you, makes you happy (or sad) then you've captured them, and they're yours.

Also, with increasingly fewer people writing letters in the old-fashioned way, there's a real risk of our cultural memories going with it. You diarists aren't just feeding your own head; you're leaving a record that people in a future time might actually find enlightening.

So, between now and next Friday, think about how you'd keep a diary. Blank book with a ribbon bookmark? Looseleaf binder? Spiral bound notebook? The only real rule is to write it down.

If you feel like sharing you're thoughts here … please, feel free. 

[typography] Because the SarcMark™ Worked So Well …

2730.Now someone's come up with a "sarcasm font" which is … wait for it … just regular typed obliqued leftwards instead of rightwards.

Yeah, that'll work. Like the SarcMark™, that went over so just so very well.

It's the Sarcastic 'Font', and you can find it at http://glennmcanally.com/sarcastic/index.htm.

Yeah. This'll go over well, too.

The nifty thing about that answer is it'll hold true whether that is especially dry satire … or not.

[net_liff] What Yelp! Needs … More Cormac McCarthy

2729.What Yelp! needs? A voice with style, with gravitas (which is a veggie I think I had on one of my salads recently), with world-weariness and the ability to see through lies.

I mean, of course, Cormac McCarthy:

Four stars.
I am going to remove a star, he said.
Please don’t mister.
Don’t move. It’s better if you don’t move.
It’s important you know why. Do you understand why this is happening?
Oh God.
It is because I clearly shared with you my condition. I cannot countenance gluten. And yet I see croutons here. Do you see them as well?
Yes. I’m sorry.
Do you understand that sorry does not remove the croutons?
Yes. Oh God.
Good. Then we can agree your action has changed the course of the universe in some infinitesimal but irrevocable way. To remove the croutons would not remove the action. You see?
The waiter closed his eyes.
That was Cormac at Chili's. Rating: four stars. Read the rest, and here's the whole thing.

[web_design] Google Chrome … Winning the War

2728.Remember those days when they said The browser wars were over, and MSIE had won?


Yeah, those were good times. Then MS went complacent, stopped developing Internet Exploder, and pretty soon, Mozilla and Firefox were, at first nibbling at, then eating up, its lunch. It left the Mac market to all the other browsers too, so us Mac users had to find something else.

Then IE begat tabs … years after FF made them first fashionable, then de rigueur, then freakin' indispensable.

Then Google, at last, came along, and put Chrome on the thing. By that time, being a Mac user, I'd made Firefox pretty much the most important app on my machine, no matter what else I was doing. And I was a hard sell on Chrome … I was very dependent on Firefox extensions such as ScribeFire for blog posting and other things. If there was a way for the Web to be made easier and more intuitive, the Fox had it.

I liked Chrome at first, but not enough to switch. Then ScribeFire came to Chrome and I started using it. that got me over. Since then I've moved away from using a blog-posting app as the cloud-interface - the Blogger interface - gives me all the functionality I need, and then some.

No offense, ScribeFire. It's not you; it's me. Well, it was you, just a little bit, but no harm - no foul, eh?

That's not to say Chrome is perfect; the number of Web Workers, Renderers and null processes it spawns never fail to make me raise an eyebrow. And, once in a while, the browser crashes on startup – a quick reinstall usually fixes this problem. But I like Chrome a lot.

So, when I found out that Chrome had passed IE8 in popularity, I was surprised only that it happened so quickly – never underestimate an installed base, someone once said to me. Browsers, I guess, obey somewhat different laws of physics.

Here's the word: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/12/google-chrome-internet-explorer.html

13 December 2011

[diary] Diaries of the Just and the Unjust And Everyone In Between

2727.When I talk to people about creating diaries, I find that a lot of folks think this is the province of the 13-year old girl, the young lady who loops her i's instead of dots them, and who begins every entry in a little pastel book with a cute little lock with the phrase Dear Diary.

That's not necessarily to disrespect a notional, stereotypical 13-year old girl. But adults who have little time for reading, never mind writing, think that it's not for them because it's something kids do.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This diary was kept by Robert Goddard, credited as the father of modern rocketry. His word made possible - even necessary - such things as the Apollo moon missions and the Space Shuttle, and, sadly, ICBMs as well. Here's a graphic of what he wrote on the day he launched his first liquid-fueled rocket, an event which opened the modern age of astronautics:

For the rest of the pictures and transcriptions, go to Clark University's page on it at http://www.clarku.edu/research/archives/goddard/diary.cfm.

For a more modern person of renown, the recently-released-from-Italian-prison Amanda Knox also kept a diary:

The subtitle in Italian, Il mio diaro del pngione (sic), is poignant. The pages are dense with text, neatly scribed in that particular oval, almost uncial, font stereotypically favored by young women. You can read it (the photocopies are a little tough on the eyes, though, be warned) at TruTV here: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/young/amanda-knox-diary/1.html

And wars create war diaries, and diaries by soldiers. Ed Blanco kept a war diary as a soldier in Vietnam which was just a day-by-day chronicle. The thing which attracted me about it was the medium … he picked up a bookkeeper's journal in a Brooklyn stationers shop, and he kept it with him throughout his tour. It lived in has back pocket for a year, and recorded what happened each day as well as the members of his company who got wounded and who he lost. You can see a few graphics here:

Diaries are here and now, they're real, and despite what you've heard about the Internet (much as I love it) taking over, they're happening.

They're also for everyone.

[art] Real-Time Animation, With Bicycle

2726.Just found this on YouTube, after the words 'real-time animation' caught my eye. Of course, you can't film animation in real time, the terms seem to be at odds; animation is designing frame-by-frame and real life is much more analogue.

But, as it turns out, if you lay out your animation on a bicycle wheel … and spin it just so …

Kinda brilliant.

12 December 2011

[type] The Most Horrifying Picture A Graphic Designer Can See …

2725.… is the opening splash to any Adobe Creative Suite app … in Comic Sans …

There's even more tomfoolery at The Comic Sans Project, a tumblr blog whose unholy purpose seems to be re-imagining all sorts of logos and stuff with CS in instead of what belongs there.

Sinful. You'll want to watch, of course: http://comicsansproject.tumblr.com/

06 December 2011