30 November 2013

[logo] KINK-FM: True To The Logo

2967.I don't know if anyone else noticed, but Portland's legendary FM, KINK, has evolved its logo a bit.


… and after.

True to the Music has been the bywords for a long, long time now. And I've been a KINK listener for a long time. I've always liked the approach that KINK had to music … explore it, take your time to enjoy it. It's not the frenetic pace of most music stations. And you always heard something unexpected if you listened long enough.

Today's KINK is much the same as the 1980s version. But they've ventured more into live acts and similar promotions. The new logo, which boasts the terrestrial frequency as well as the legendary tagline, encourages you to think of KINK the way a lot of stations do these days - frequency-name, so it's going with the fashion in a fashion, but in some ways you gotta change with the times, even if your content stays timeless … as the script logo, which I've always enjoyed, does.

29 November 2013

[liff] A Pre-Cold Snap Sunrise

2966.Sunrises, to me, always seem more vivid as the weather changes.

Those orance/buff/salmon tones I don't see too often about here. It seems a whisper of the frosty hand that's about to lay itself upon the land.

Third-shift work has some compensations.

[art] The Kind Of Art Store Landscaping We Grow Around Here

2965.What would be more perfect outside of Muse Art and Design

… than a color wheel?

The white gravel in the center tells you it's additive.

SE 42nd and Hawthorne.

[liff] Goodbye, Mysterious Warrior Archie

2964.Our mysterious sojourner, Archie, left us this week.

Here was an oddball feline – well, none of our cats were ever particularly 'normal', but we likes 'em quirky.

Archie came to my mother-in-law, a long time ago, battered and in need of care. He was a tough guy, with a single snaggly ear, who had apparently emerged from a battle with some opponent and, seeing my mom-in-law nearby, figured he'd go for help, going 'You think I look bad? You shoulda see'd the other guy!"

He was the strong, silent type for years, but recently he became talkative. He had a miaow as smoky as his coat. He was a sweet, loyal guy whose ambition in life was apparently to be The Wife™'s fur hat while she slept.

To the best of our guessing, he was 18 years old. He had started to take on that old-cat spindliness that old cats will do, his coat lost his lustre, and he began to slow. He was more susceptible to infections, contracting an intractable one above his nose that affected his rugged, handsome visage, but he never let it stop him. He stayed by Wife like bodyguard, trailing her through the house.

Dr Behrends, at Montavilla, pronounced the sentence. Archie was, in that inscrutable way that animals do, choosing his time and getting his affairs in order. He was at the end of his life and knew it. And so, he turned off the lights in the rooms of his life, one by one, in the most dignified way. And then, two Saturdays ago, he spent 14 hours in Wife's arms. And then he was gone.

He was a sweet guy, old before we knew him, tougher than most because someone thought declawing was the thing to do.

He gave us his best. I hope he left us thinking we did same.

27 November 2013

[comics] It's Comics! It's in a Spiral Notebook! IT'S SPIRAL NOTEBOOK COMICS!

2963.John E. Williams, a man of whom I admire for having much ilk, just took existential comedy and fast creativity to a new high with the low tech.

How funny can spiral notebook paper and plain black ballpoint can be?

Just ask John.

Claude directs traffic … but of course, nobody listens to him. And, hey, free coupon! At the end! Such a deal! Whatever the NJ Palisades are and sadly, it's after 1963 but it's the thought.

Seriously, I enjoy John's dry wit and his existential touch, which proves that traffic rage can even be funny if you contextualize it just right … and sketch it out in ballpoint on notebook paper (two art media which, I can see, are vastly  underrated).

See the rest (including his recap of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) here:

[art] Here's Your Space Dragon

2962.Well, because space dragon, I guess. Do we need a reason?

Looks like Tintin made a fast escape there too.

[logo] Lloyd Llogo: The Most Portlandest Of Malls Gets A New Graphic Llook

2961.Portland's Mall is re-imagining itself.

The Lloyd Center is pretty much the point of entry of the Mall into the culture of Oregon. Built in 1960, once opened, Oregon shopping joined the national scene in as much as the modern shopping mall is concerned.

It's had its ups and downs; it went from a 100-store mall with an open courtyard to a completely-enclosed mall with two levels of shopping and one of offices. It's really going strong, and considering how some malls have died, are dying, or have re-imagined their own selves into sere multi-acre parking lots surrounded by big boxes, that's no small feat.

For many years, now, its logo looked like this:

… and this wasn't too bad. The rose-as-an-O was very appropriate design, and I always thought the type was rather restrained and refined.

The center has undergone a change of ownership, and the new owners have deemed a logo refresh is in order. Delving back into its 60s-past, here's what they came up with:

A report by KATU-Channel 2 relates that the new owners feel as though the design harkens back to the Center's original 'retro charm'. I can see this. The design would tessellate very nicely into one of those latticework dividers so popular in the hip, upscale pads of the 60s.

I must admit, it didn't take off with me right away. I didn't much care for the asymmetry, though once I pictured it as a wall texture, it clicked right there and then. It was a quirky inspiration, to be sure, that caused the designer to link three of the open circles with the L, leaving the one bolded into a C to stand outside, but after sifting the design in my head for a while, it works.

At least it does succeed in evoking a retro feel, and as far as that goes, it's a success.

26 November 2013

[tech] Print: It's Sensual.

2960.Now, I can't afford a Kindle or whatever's au courant right now. But this article spells out, quite succinctly, why I'm not really craving one.
Turning the pages of a paper book is like leaving one footprint after another on the trail—there's a rhythm to it and a visible record of how far one has traveled. All these features not only make text in a paper book easily navigable, they also make it easier to form a coherent mental map of the text."
Paper books and magazines are always where it will be at for me.

Read (yes, it's electronic, savor the irony) all about it here: http://www.notechmagazine.com/2013/10/why-the-brain-prefers-to-read-on-paper.html

[liff in OR] Marionberry Pie: They See Us Rollin', They Hatin'.

2959.Found on the Deadspin website, a list of 50 signature state dishes, rated in order of how much they loved them, from 1st and nommiest (Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza) to 50th and atrocious-est (Cincinnati "chili").

Our wonderful Marionberry pie comes in at a respectable 10th place, the top of the 2nd decade, pretty high up, with the following bon mot:
Mmmmmmm, pie. Oh man. Nobody tell any Oregonians how high their state food is ranked, though. They can't fit any more self-congratulation into their busy schedules.
Yeah, well, oh-snap, you.

The whole list is here (http://deadspin.com/the-great-american-menu-foods-of-the-states-ranked-an-1349137024). It's worth reading at least for the snark.

But don't go dissin' us Oregonians, yo. 

[art] Three Beginners' Lessons

2958.Dipping once again into the wonderfulness that is this season's Drawing Magazine.

Claire Watson Garcia's "First Marks" article for the month are three exercises every aspiring drawing artist should do. I touch on them now because I've done two of the three. The first one I haven't done, but it's very brilliant. They're all out there, but the article is valuable because she identified them and, in one article, tied them all together and put them in one place. This can be a valuable first-stop right here (and since the column is a continuing feature, yet another reason to check in there. But, enough idolatry).

1. Wire Drawing: This was the one I never did. Take about 15" of wire and creatively bend it into any shape, but keep it abstract … don't make anything recognizable. To me, this says introduce interesting curves, make parts cross, make this part roughly parallel with that part. Having a love of city maps, I have long experience in getting lost in apparently-meaningless patterns. Lay this bent wire on a sheet of paper, then very slowly, draw it with one, careful stroke. Try to copy as many of the little kinks and bends. Take your time. Do it first in pencil, then in roller-ball pen (she strives to tell you to avoid ball-point).

2. Draw Upside-Down: This have have done, and it's very useful. One of the problems one experiences in drawing is something I think of as an iconic-library approach, and why it's important to learn to 'see as an artist does'. An artist views true, or at least as true as possible. When we're not 'arting' around, we see what we see. As an inexperienced artist, we might draw, instead of the true form, shape, and light-and-shade pattern of, say, the human eye, we might reach into the icon-library we all carry with us and dash down an almond-shape with a circle and a big black dot in the middle.

Drawing upside-down begins the process of breaking this strong symbol-reality link we have, which may be of benefit in day-to-day living as a survival skill, but as an point of artistic practice, kill any hope we have of making realistic drawings. Inverting any drawing renders away some of the meaning and breaks those strong links. A chair right-side-up is a chair. A chair upside-down … well, that's more a random-seeming collection of light, shadow and line, and submits to copying.

3. Contour Drawing: This is one of the classic original art lessons, and builds on the previous two. Take any object you would want to draw. Then take yourself, a clean sheet of paper, and a little time. Consider the object, turning its shapes, light, shadows, and all into contour lines. From your starting point, draw the outline shapes. For the beginning, choose an object you enjoy looking at, because you're going to take your time with this, too.

Draw every part as a simple collection of lines and shapes, few details. The author does not say they should be done as one, single continuous line, but the contour drawing I learned directed me to render the object as one continuous line. Our author does say one should take one's time, but does not seem to insist that you not look at your line as you draw it. The point is to just draw the simple line, take your time doing it, and come as close to a likeness as you can, and not to criticize yourself if you can't get it straight on. This is, after all a beginning.

The core idea I can draw out of all this is the development of spacial perception and the awareness of drawing what one sees instead of what one thinks one sees. One of the essential truths of drawing is that you depict reality by viewing it in its essentials and recording them as truly as one can.

I'm nowhere near the artist I want to be, but I know I can get there, because I took the time to learn to see. I don't think anyone can truly aspire to drawing without learning this skill.

But don't be afraid. Since I've done so, the world has never looked more lively. It's a good goal.

[art] In The Beginning, One Must Copy

2957.The current issue of Drawing magazine seems to suggest a trend.

Originality is to be striven for. No matter what one does as an artist, I think we all, accomplished as well as tyro or aspiring, reach for a unique expression of what is our own voice, no matter how we do it.

But in the beginning, as one of the keynote articles say, you can learn a lot from a master, and since you have no access to the master, you can at least draw what they have drawn and, in so doing, grasp eye-hand coordination and get a taste of how they understood form and shape.

Dan Gheno's article demonstrates how to draw from multiple sources - from as 'mundane' as comic books and film images and as rarefied as sculpture and the great masterpieces - to learn basic lessons of art and composition. You can gain facility on drawing certain body parts (I know few artists who don't approach hands, for instance, with some trepidation … even the wonderful artists at OryCon we saw, some of them mentioned this). The idealized and refined ideas of classical sculpture can impart a unique challenge of anatomy lessons to the hand and the eye. Sketching the old masters can teach ineffable lessons about composition.

And, as always, draw, draw, draw.

One may not have access to a live teacher. Fortunately, teachers live all around us. We just have to learn how to look, which is another artists' sine qua non.

[art] Drawing Magazine: A Periodical Paradise

A new-to-me magazine has been thrown across my path.

Drawing magazine has actually, as the copy I have in my hands saith, 10 years. Well, better late than never. There is a ton of inspiration to be had here, and this month has classic basics, some of which I've heard of, some of which I haven't.

Picture a quarterly magazine that's essentially art tutorials. Like an new art how-to book once every three months.

I might just pick up a subscription. Wife says it's okay, and you get five-for-three if you subscribe for a year (the subscription price is about the same as buying three of them off the stand, and if you subscribe via credit card, you get a bonus fifth issue).


[art] Learning Website of The Moment: Learning to See

Learning to See, whose title is evidently inspired by the one thing anyone must learn to do to do realistic art, is a site whose author is a self-taught artist who has stumbled on a lot of the verities about learning how to draw on his own.

It's got a lot of solid advice. His idea about how to become more creative?
Show up and practice.
Every day.
Whether you feel like it or not.

I hope that's not too disappointing. I also hope it doesn't sound glib. I mean it sincerely and I really want to help you by passing on what I manage to glean from my own work in the trenches.
I really do believe that this idea will not only enhance your creativity, but rescue your artistic self esteem, help you through procrastination and eventually help you become the artist you know you have inside you, if you could only find a way to bring her out.
It's really a bunch of common-sense like that.

He also mentions a drawing-a-day 'all-in' challenge, but he doesn't seem to have one open at the moment. Worth checking back for.


25 November 2013

[PDX] Carl Wolfson, Friend To All Animals, Yes, Squirrels Too.

Carl Wolfson has a new special friend.

The whole story is here. If, however, Carl should ever want to contact this fellah again, I humbly proffer this circular free for his use.

Ya gotta have friends, man. Yes, we can all get along.

(extended in gentle jest. I am a Wolfson fan, and can't wait for XRAY.FM to get its signal goin')

[PDX_liff] Oregon and California, meet Mason and Dixon

Seen outside of the Powell's Books coffee room, about a week back, was this game fellow with a point to make, outside the Brewery Blocks building, at the corner of NW 11th and West Burnside:

He didn't seem to be cadging for a ride. The sign reads: CALIFORNIA & OREGON 21ST CENTURY MASON DIXON LINE.

I think I know what point he was trying to make. I'd be more interested in what other people thought he was trying to say here. Probably make more impact on a streetcorner than he will on the pages of Soylent News™ anyway.

[PDX] Lloyd 700 Superblock: The Difference 2 Years And A Ton O' Money Make

One more photo pair from the OryCon 35 Crow's Nest, a/k/a The View From The 15th (promise, though they have been rather good).

Two years ago, in the superblock (actually 4 standard Portland city blocks bounded by (clockwise) NE Multnomah Street, NE 9th Avenue, NE Holladay Street, and NE 7th Avenue there was only one building - at 700 NE Multnomah, the aptly-named Lloyd 700 building, the rest of the block taken up by parking, which see:

Well, what a difference two years and a metric ass-ton of money will make. There's more building still going on in Portland than you can shake a crane at, and the acres of parking that occupied that block are going to be subsumed into a group of towers than may or may not fill up - who knows, they said that the South Waterfront was the Next Big Thing but the place is a real ghost-town, let me tell you:

In making room for the foundations and underpinnings and the underground parking and the flavins they have actually exposed the plinth that the 16-story Lloyd 700 tower sits on. Now I'm a bit savvy about these things. I know they know that that is not nearly as precarious as it looks, but the illogical part of me says chee, I hope a strong northwest wind doesn't come along before they can get that block filled back in.

Funny thing? If we applied this sort of thing to an alien planet, we'd call it terraforming.

Fascinating, never the less.

[liff] More Views From the OryCon Crow's Nest

A couple of days ago, in this post here, I shared a view I snapped of downtown Portland from the 15th Floor of the Doubletree Hotel, site of OryCon.

I'm addicted to the downtown Portland cityscape and skyline, so this, of course, isn't the only one. The Hospitality level is a great crow's next, as shall be demonstrated.

Two years ago, during that OryCon, and this was when +Occupy Portland was about to be broken up down in the Plaza Blocks (a/k/a Chapman and Lownsdale Squares, between the Federal Courthouse, City Hall, the Multnomah County courthouse, and the Justice Center), the weather was a bit more unstable and chaotic than your usual Oregon November. The view from the 15th was a bit more exotic:

The clouds over the West Hills were directly southwest of city center. The semicircular building you see in the bottom center is the south end of the +Oregon Convention Center , the twin glass spires hiding behind the building at stage left there.

I don't think I have to point this out, but the clouds seemingly held back by the bulk of the hills backing up the west side of town are exquisite and speak eloquently of Oregon weather (well, most of the time, anyway) as a beast who's just too darn mellow to mess with anyone much.

The Tualatin Mountains form the physical western barrier to the city, and extend northwestward from just west of the center of town all the way toward the town of Saint Helens where they more or less merge into the Coast Range. This is the home of our world-famous Forest Park. And the clouds were trying to get round that rampart too … and just weren't getting the job done. To a very beautiful effect.

The bow in the center-left distance is the arch to the Fremont Bridge. The short tower in the middle distance is a retirement community called Calaroga Terrace; that tower on the left is the Lloyd 700 building (7th and NE Holladay) and the one on the right is the even-more-functionally-named Lloyd Center Tower.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody takes pictures of it, except with digital photography, everyone does now. And even though we are there for OryCon, this causes us pauses and we think outside ourselves for just a moment.

Of course, there are snacks to be had just down the hall. So we come out of that reverie perforce.

[liff] Mere Character Flaws

Over the past year your humble correspondent has been coping with some issues that have become, if not too large, but to intractable to ignore, himself.

Some of the peril and pitfall can be illustrated by this post by a most dear acquaintance, T.A. Barnhart, on his very intense personal blog, Carpe Bucko
And that’s the problem: because my life could be worse, and because it’s been a decent life, I’ve been fooled into thinking that my mental health has been good enough. Yes, I’ve suffered from depression since my pre-teen years; I came to understand this quite a while ago. But I told myself, it was a “shallow” depression. A not-too-bad depression. I didn’t need drugs; I was able to live my life pretty well. Depression was a problem for me, but not that bad.
I may reveal more of my own struggle in future posts; for now, this is needful. His details are not my details, however, the nut of the thing is pretty close to identical.

Suffice it to say for now that, all else being equal, T.A. is a good deal more courageous than I am, in many many ways.

24 November 2013

[liff] PDX On The Day Of OryCon 35

If OryCon ever leaves the DoubleTree, I'll miss that, because this:

The hospitality suite is usually on the top floor of the tower, and this is the scene we are always treated with upon disembarking from the elevator.

It's even better at night.

[liff] It's A Good Thing Ogden Nash Didn't Use A Computer

… because if he did, there probably would have been more than this:

My problem is, I never know what Untitled I'm in the mood for.