Archive for February, 2008

I must have this.

Friday, February 29th, 2008

In my perusings of The Internette, I found this picture, and now I must find these bathroom signs, for they are so very rad:


Find these for me, and you will be most handsomely rewarded. Well, I’ll pay whatever they cost. But I’ll be really really happy and that’s a reward in itself. Kinda.

Apparently I wasn’t done yet.

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

So, in the movie Helvetica (see previous post), one type enthusiast talks about how before Helvetica came on the scene, all the ads were done in handwritten, jaunty-looking type. Everything. See?

ibm.jpg marlboro.jpg maidenform.jpg

Right now I’m working one some horror stuff for a client, and I found the poster for The Birds, the Alfred Hitchcock movie. And suddenly I understood the problem with this style of typesetting.


You know what this poster says to me? “Birds are attacking that lady… and the circus is in town!” Totally wrong type choice. And why are there quotes around the title? It’s like, “They’re not really birds… They’re weasels we tied wings to and threw at her head! Blahahahaha!” If only they knew they could make any horror film look horror-y by having a stark sans-serif font on a black background. Example:


Except for the “The Night HE Came Home!” part (oogie boogie boogie boo), this is a very scary ad. Thank God for Helvetica, or we’d still be looking at irritatingly jaunty-fonted ads.

Typefaces and fonts and letters, oh my!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Last night I watched a documentary called “Helvetica”. I learned an important lesson, and that is some designers REALLY care about typefaces. I mean, REALLY care. As in they will only use one for all their projects, ever. And Helvetica is often that one. In the movie they show a variety of places Helvetica is used. I really had no idea how popular it was.

The Gap, Target, American Apparel, Crate and Barrel, Con Edison, all the subway signs in New York, Panasonic, American Airlines, Jeep, Energizer batteries, your federal income tax returns… and that’s just in America.

In 2007, Helvetica turned 50, so happy birthday to Helvetica! You are functional and legible and squat.

I, on the other hand, am not married to any particular typeface. It’s easier for me to list the ones I hate because there are so few of them (Comic Sans, I’m looking right at you…). The other day a client found a font they thought was peppy and appropriate for their presentation, and I saw it at Emigre fonts and bought it. It’s called Filosofia Unicase.


It’s mighty peppy, isn’t it? I like it a great deal. I was unfamiliar with the concept of unicase, meaning all the letters are the same height. It looks charming and tidy at the same time. And all those guys in the Helvetica movie are muffling their screams in pillows at this font.

While at Emigre I saw another font I liked and I bought it too. It’s even peppier then Filosofia Unicase (“You hear that, Helvetica guys?” “AAHHHHH!!!”) I think it’s called Democratica.


Look! It’s got points sticking out of random parts of the letter! And the capital “Y” is so weird! I feel so counter-culture with my wacky fonts! Wheee! I think perhaps I need to get out more.

Manhattan views and hot chocolate.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

1. I’m doing a freelancing graphic design job in midtown Manhattan this week, and they gave me an office to use. It’s an ordinary office, but it has a five foot wide by eight foot tall window with a view of Manhattan that is mind-altering. I can see all of Central Park and way up into Harlem. I will try to get some good shots of it and put them up here.

2. For lunch today I grabbed some Japanese food and on my way back to the office I passed the Maison du Chocolat which advertised having hot chocolate. Hooray, I thought. I went it and ordered a small semi-sweet hot chocolate, since I imagined their dark chocolate is pretty bitter. She poured it for me and said, “That’ll be $8.50.” O…kay. This is Maison du Chocolat and they use very good chocolate, so I’ll let the price go. I get upstairs, I eat my lunch and then I try the hot chocolate (that I paid $8.50 for). Let me try to describe it to you – You take a high cocoa content chocolate bar, you melt it into a cup (so far so good), then you add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil (uh oh) and a healthy sprinkle of horse manure (oh dear), and drink it. The horse manure part is not a joke, it really did have an “earthy” tang to it. It reminded me of the desciption of the most expensive coffee in the world:

Kopi Luwak coffee comes from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, an area well-known for its excellent coffee. Also native to the area is a small civit-like animal called a Paradoxurus. That’s the scientific name, the locals call them luwaks. These little mammals live in the trees and one of their favorite foods is the red, ripe coffee cherry. They eat the cherries, bean and all. While the bean is in the little guy’s stomach, it undergoes chemical treatments and fermentations. The bean finishes its journey through the digestive system, and exits. The still-intact beans are collected from the forest floor, and are cleaned, then roasted and ground just like any other coffee.

Perhaps an animal ate my cocoa beans and the resulting product was made into my hot chocolate. Civet-digested cocoa beans would also explain the price ($8.50).

Addendum on Feb. 22: Here are those pictures of my view.

From the doorway so as to appreciate the size of the window:


Through the window:


Closer-upper view through the window, focusing on that tree-carpet area which is Central Park:


I am sad.

Monday, February 18th, 2008

I’ve worked in Flash for a long time. The Actionscript was pretty much always the same. If you wanted a button to go to something, you typed in this:


See? It’s almost a sentence. “On release of the button, go to and play the scene named contact, starting at frame 1.” It was the only damn code I knew. Now in Flash CS3, they’ve changed things SOLELY to make my life harder. Now, to get a button to do the same thing as above, you have to type this:


Why is the word “void” in there? I don’t want to void anything. It says MouseEvent three times. Why? I have to add an EventListener. Huh? I liked my “onRelease” better. But technology soldiers on, sometimes at the expense of designers who like their code to resemble sentences. Alas.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Friday, February 15th, 2008

A dog won. I know, shocker. But really, it was a hoot. See, last year a standard poodle was was the winner in the non-sporting group and a poodle won the toy group. This year, same thing. That’s not fair to the other dogs who were showin’ their stuff. So people are fed up with the poodlage. My area apparently was the heckler’s section. We all rooted for anything that wasn’t a poodle. Some guy in the next section yelled, “Poodle!” at one point and the woman in front of me yelled some very unkind things about poodles back. Oh, and as you can expect, dog fanciers are insane. The woman behind me has a yorkshire terrier. She was talking about how her yorkie goes on wine tastings to different wineries and writes a blog about what wine is good. The dog. Has a wine blog. She rates wine. The dog. I’m just making sure you get this.

Oh, I tried the fair trade organic strawberry balsamic truffles and they were not great. I mean, the strawberry part and the chocolate part and even the balsamic part were delicious, but it had a creamy center and that made it too rich and gloppy. But I’d be willing to try another company’s strawberry balsamic truffles if they didn’t have a creamy, goopy center.

Another chocolate show! Stuff more chocolate in my gaping maw! I am a hellmouth! For chocolate!

Monday, February 11th, 2008

For those of you whose mothers are not art historians and did not drag you to every museum in the western world to look at paintings painted by people who are very, very dead right now, a hellmouth is this:

It’s a mouth that opens to hell and people fall in. But in my case, it was chocolate.

So Snorth and I went to the Palisades Mall (greatest mall EVAR) for a chocolate show that was being held there. We figured that even if we didn’t buy anything, the entrance fee goes to help developmentally disabled people, so good karma points for us there. But we did buy things, quite a few things. Not only were there chocolatiers, there was wine people and cheese people and baked-goods people. We were walking around and I saw a guy selling maple-syrup products. And he was spinning maple syrup into cotton candy, so hell, I had to get that. It was good, but my brain kept saying, “This is cotton candy! This should taste like incredibly fake raspberry! And be blue! I don’t understand!” I think I like maple candy better. But the best part for me was at the very end. I saw an older woman walking around eating a pickle on a stick, and I accosted her and demanded she tell me where she acquired this pickle. She told me at the end of the row, so I zipped down to the end of the row and sure enough, one of my most beloved things greeted me, a Lower East Side jewish pickle vendor. I was in heaven. I made little squealing noises while I made my pickle purchases (new pickles for my mom, sauerkraut for my dad, pickled tomatoes for me). I later noticed the chocolate-covered pickles they were selling and was slightly appalled and a little intrigued, but I had run out of money and so (probably wisely) did not purchase one.

Let me explain. My father grew up in New York in the 30s and 40s, so he is all about the bialies and knishes and pickles and other Eastern European immigrant food. Every so often he gets the cravings, so we drive down to the Lower East Side and pick up an insane amount of pickled goodness from one of the vendors and then the Buick smells of brine and vinegar for a week. Once, we went down near Passover. Passover, for those of you that don’t know, has horseradish playing a big role in it. Outside the pickle vendor was a man wearing a Vietnam-era gas mask. He was standing in front of what looked like a small wood chipper and he was pushing horseradish roots into the wood chipper and putting the final product in jars. I thought he was crazy until the wind shifted. I was standing a good ten feet away and the air, it BURNED. Through tearing eyes and drippy nose, I silently apologized to gas-mask-man for mocking his headgear. And I had a new appreciation for pepper spray. Owie owie.

Oh, and I did buy some chocolate at the chocolate show. Organic, fair trade strawberry-balsamic truffles. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’ll tell you if they’re good or not.

Octoberfest picture.

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

I keep telling people about this picture I saw online of a guy at Octoberfest in Munich who:

1) was on a ladder and

2) was playing a tuba with one hand and his foot

3) so he could hold his beer stein in his other hand.

Did I mention he was was on a ladder? I tell people about this picture all the time, and thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, it has been found:


That is a devotion to beer I cannot even fathom.

Similiar but different: if you’re ever in Las Vegas, go to the Hofbrauhaus. Seriously. It’s phenomenal. Cricket, Cricket’s sister and I ate there when we were in Vegas and it was terrific food and the whole staff was German (we were served by Karin). They played that “Ricola!!” alp horn and an accordian and everyone wore leiderhosen – absolutely terrific.

What’s that sound? Oh, it’s the sound of me being AWESOME.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

That’s my nice way of saying I did some nice graphic design this week. Meet sloth:


I did a drawing back in the day of this sloth and then gave the drawing to a friend. I scanned it in before I gave it to her, but it was a low-res scan. I then redid it in Illustrator with colors and I think it came out nicely. I put it on some porcelain dishes for wall hangings. Next, a giraffe. I’m going to do a couple of tall/long animals and have a series. Very exciting.

A big weekend. One might call it Giant. Also, spam.

Monday, February 4th, 2008

I receive a great deal of spam on this website. These are the titles of the last four spammy messages:





I feel like they’re not trying anymore. It looks like someone passed out and tipped face-forward onto their keyboard. It looks like a drunk guy typing in Welsh. Stop that.

So, Giants. First, I saw They Might Be Giants on Saturday night. I wasn’t supposed to see them, I didn’t have a ticket. Cricket was going with his best friend Pabby. However, Pabby’s wife went into labor the night before and Cricket couldn’t find anyone else to go, so I got Pabby’s ticket. Don’t get me wrong, I love They Might Be Giants. I just don’t care for live music very much. It’s loud, people are blocking my view, I have to put on pants to go out, blah blah blah.

(Funny addition: Pabby’s baby was born at 4:00 in the afternoon and my first reaction was, “Good! Now he can go to the concert at 8:00!” Cricket had to explain to me that no, he can’t. I have little to no motherly instinct, so it never occurred to me that he should spend the rest of the day with the woman who just pushed the fruit of his loins out into the world.)

So I went to the concert. It was lovely to see They Might Be Giants again, they were my first concert when I was seventeen. They sang several songs I could sing along to, so that was fun. I forgot how much I liked them. Now I’ve been listening to them nonstop for two days. It’s like reuniting with an old friend.

The next day was the Super Bowl. I went to my friend M’s apartment in Brooklyn to watch the game and eat a festive medley of cuisine including homemade jalepeno poppers (excellent, with beer batter, num num). I decided to root for the New York Giants because I had seen They Might Be Giants in New York City the night before and it seemed like there was a theme going. I don’t really give a crap about football, so that seemed like a good enough reason. We made a valiant attempt to watch the game (“They’re flinging the spheroid! Huzzah!”) but by halftime it became a brutal chore for many of us. Two members of the party left during the first half to go play pool. Yeah, we were a devoted footballin’ crowd. Then M’s girlfriend (who had baked cupcakes with green icing to look like the field and other cupcakes with the team’s logos – delicious and pertinent, both things I like in my dessert items) insisted we watch Spike’s halftime show, which was an egg and ham eating contest. It was horrifying. I had to look away from the screen repeatedly. There was a guy eating the ham (I think he was the winner after snorking down SEVEN POUNDS of ham in however many minutes) who had honey glaze and sweat all over his face. He was jumping up and down while shoveling the ham in, oh, it was bad. I blame Cablevision for this. If we had received Animal Planet we would have been watching the Puppy Bowl, but no, I had to watch bloated freaks inhaling food in a way that is NOT RIGHT. Shortly after that, Cricket and I headed for home in order for me to catch the special episode of House (which was excellent, Mira Sorvino was on it, good stuff). It was a good weekend. And yay for my team with the winning. Whoo hoo.