Tuesday, December 28, 2004

™ ® © & Etcetera

Ah, Christmas. Traditions, family, egg nog. This one was much anticipated and further enjoyed by the fact that both my wife and I are gainfully employed. And not being a waiter was soooo nice. Working on Christmas Eve is horrible.

Let’s cut right to the chase, shall we? Gifts. I’m not about to say that is what Christmas is about, but it sure is becoming more commercialized and people are forgetting the true and righteous reason for the season. I won’t get into that, but for those of us who remember Jesus Christ’s birthday, these are rewards more than mere gifts. I progress… My wife knows me all to well. She is a brilliant gift giver and this Christmas was no exception. Two books: TM and Marks of Excellence.

TM is a collection of over 200 trademarks by one of the world’s most respected design firms (Chermayeff & Geismar) with identities for such companies as HarperCollins, TimeWarner, NBC and Chase Bank. I am, undoubtedly, the biggest fan of logos (I have no way to prove that) and this book is just a big collection of almost every logo coming out of this company. I love it! I could flip through these pages 6, 7 or 25 times and still think I missed something and yearn for more.

Marks of Excellence is the history and taxonomy of trademarks. I eat this shtuff up. Literally. If they ever came out with LogoLoops, I would buy my weight in the cereal. What's more, this book is packed with how a lot of these logos came about, how they affected the business and what significance they have on the industry for their brand.

This is only a sampling of my Christmas, but a very good one indeed. And speaking of brands, the NBC Peacock is regarded as one of the most recognized logos out there. However, I think NBC has a more potent and longer lived brand that is unmistakable and unforgettable: G-E-C.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Nutcrackers & Snowflakes

Saturday, I saw The Nutcracker performed by Ballet Austin. Fantastic. Another incredible date with my wife — more than merely the love of my life. This show being extra holiday-oriented really made me realize just how much she makes Christmas… well, Christmas for me. I love this holiday if only because she is with me during it. After such an awesome Saturday, the days just flew by and here it is, now Wednesday.

But, never fear kiddies, I haven’t forgotten about you. Just as I like to share my typographic discoveries with my wife - I will also share them with you. I sent her a snowflake constructed completely of type. Send your special someone a TYPEflake, won't you?

In case I have an incredible Christmas holiday (and subsequent vacation): Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 17, 2004

EPIC Realism

The scary part is that EPIC looks like it could really happen. This is some fine motion-graphics work and worth the peek. All the ideas and theories could really happen. Just how far will this “internet” take the world? And will it be for the better?

Elsewhere, I received the most excellent piece of mail yesterday. It was a nice envelope with my address ink jet printed on the front in what looked like Apple Chancery. Opened it up and there was a trifold "letter" of the same paper and a vellum sheet in it. It was, for all intents and purposes, a wedding invitation. I was like, “Now, who do I know that might be getting married.” It turned out, however, to be the most clever direct mail piece I have ever seen. It was a “wedding” announcement for Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless. It was brilliant. And from the looks of it, they sent one out to every one of their customers. What a great piece of junk mail. I am definitely holding onto it.

Weebl & Bob give another history lesson.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Honda has a robot. It’s called ASIMO. It -is- bad ass.

Now the thing can run. Only 3km/hr, but it is still freakin’ running. I have tried to keep up with this little guy (no pun intended), and this is just the latest news on the project’s progress.

Feeling Silly

Yesterday, I completed this little animated mini-comic based on FFXI. The art (the desert and the sprites) was inspired/duplicated from Kaahi’s avatar, of which I have seen several variations on, so I am not sure who the original creator of the avatars is.

I have always liked traditional animation and used to make a ton of animated web banners. This kinda brings me back to all of it and it is real fun to do. Having to illustrate the Goblin was the toughest part, but I think I did a pretty good job on him. Ultimately, you might have to be a player of FFXI Online to even get some of the toon. But it still looks neat, right?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Weekend Update

Meant to post this on Monday… even Tuesday… but time got away from me while work had me tight in its clutches. Friday was basically another day, however, it ended with the decorating of my mother-in-law’s Christmas tree. She has one of those trees that comes with lights built in. I think that is going to be the way to go for our next tree (when and if we ever get a next tree).

Saturday was the big day. We had purchased tickets for two concerts — Trans-Siberian Orchestra and The Nutcracker. This last Saturday was for TSO (with this coming Saturday being The Nutcracker). We made a date of it with dinner first and then the show. Dinner was outstanding. We went to the East Side Cafe and it was an excellent decision to do so. As all my restaurant reviews go, the salad is the key element. Very nice. I was worried it would be a little gamey because ESC grows all their own produce (they have a garden out back and even a store to buy their produce and gardening supplies) and was listed as having “wild” greens. Generally, that means it feels like there is sand still on the leaves. Not so here. And the waiter delivered it in a very timely fashion. The service was already top-notch and all that was left was the meal itself. Ever have beef tenderloin? It is a choice portion of beef and very tender. However, at East Side Cafe, it is beyond reproach. I have never had beef tenderloin so juicy and full of flavor. I will never be able to eat it at any other restaurant. And should I ever crave it again, I will not bemoan having to return to ESC. Overall, the meal was divine and the service impeccable. It is a quant atmosphere as the restaurant is actually 2 (or 3) old houses converted for the public and a must if you are looking for that romantic dinner for two.

The concert itself was remarkable. I do love going to concerts with my wife and this was no exception. Rock meets classical. Pyrotechnics accent the operatic. The sounds are just amazing. A great concert and should be seen if you get the opportunity.

Sunday was a day to relax and we did so with friends and then the weekly grocery trip. Yesterday, I got the DVD version of our sonograms (from the ruined tape) and am very pleased to now have them in some form of digital format — though I will have to try to figure out how to extract them off the DVD. I wanted the video converted to a digital format and ended up getting a full DVD. Quite a waste for only about 6 minutes of total video, but the “data” is one of the most valuable things I have right now and it is rather worth it. Ultimately, kudos to the Dub King for repairing the tape and the transfer of the video.

Irony doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Multifaceted Bembo

Back on topic: (I have a topic? Well, sure I do. This blog was to be concerned with design and related issues. So back to it.) Typography. Specifically, the type that makes up typography. Most of you who have kept up with my blog, to a certain extent, know of my love for the printed word. And you know the fonts that I would like to one day add to my collection (if not already in it). Some time ago, I attended a course given by Edward Tufte, a very good presenter, by the way. He has published three books. All three use the same fonts. Notably: Bembo and Gill Sans. Bembo for the body copy (the majority of the book) and Gill Sans for data representation and footnotes.

I like Bembo. It is clean and very readable. It is also very professional looking and has a decent weight. Not too heavy, not too light. A nice set of curves. Something to keep the printed page warm at night. I digress. I have used it on projects in the past (ex: a program for an award ceremony — of which I will be entering into the local ADDYs) and find it very suitable for the UT System. However… Tufte uses some hybrid or special version of Bembo I can’t figure out. All the letters are right, but the numbers are different. The number 1 looks like the Roman numeral variety and the baselines/x-heights for the numbers fluctuate (1 & 2 being similar, 3 dipping below the baseline, 4 sharing 1&2's baseline but not the x-height, etc.). If there is an Expert version of the font, I am not aware of it and do not have it (EDIT: there is). If there is a secret trick (key sequence) to activate the special numbers, I don’t know it (EDIT: No tricks). I would really like to use what Tufte uses in his books, but I find it hard to believe that he manually changed each number to a different font to accomplish what appears in the books (EDIT: He didn’t).

I still like Bembo, though. And all it’s dirty little secrets.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Oh, Baby!

Expect the time between my posts to start to stretch out as the holidays approach and my baby continues to dominate my life. It is very odd how this child already has me wrapped around its little nub of a finger before it is even born. Lucky little…

Anyway, Friday was our second appointment with the OB/GYN. Our regular doctor was out (well, not really, but he was otherwise detained), so we had a Nurse Practitioner doing all the honors. Nowadays, sonograms come with the check-up. I imagine this is relatively new as many of the parents we know did not have sonograms with every check-up. So our tape was added onto. And boy was it this time. Our child was lying on his/her side with their back facing us. What a beautiful spine. I have never seen a straighter set of prepubescent vertebrae. As if seeing our sleeping child’s perfect posture wasn’t good enough, the little bugger jumped. I mean it did this little hop, jump thing that was just amazing. I was completely blown away. Of course, it is still too small for my wife to feel it, but boy-howdy it was an awesome little jump. Who knew there was enough room in there for basic gymnastics.

Sadly, our video tape holding this miracle for posterity was the victim of attempted murder by my VCR. I don't think we had a chance to rewind the tape before the incident, so that could be something going in our favor. There is about a 4-5 inch portion of tape chewed up pretty bad. We took it to a studio on Saturday in hopes to recover what was on the tape onto DVD. Having it in a digital format makes me feel safer anyway. Needless to say, the instant I realized the VCR was trying to destroy the tape, I destroyed the VCR. Those things are surprisingly empty for how big they are. Also, we did not receive a printed version of the sonogram, so I will have to wait for the digital version before I can formulate a plan for making a pic for all to see here.

Oh, and neotamashii will no longer be posting to ffxi.allakhazam.com — it turned out to be a intellectually vacuous forum. Basically, if you posted something worth two spits, it got rated down so no one could view it. However, posting something completely irrelevant and meaningless would turn the member into a god. So, just for my own mini Google-bomb edification, Allakhazam.com is the sux0rs!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Your Kung-Fu Is Strong!

Bruce Lee. Obviously, his expertise in the martial arts is legendary and needs no validation from me. If film did not exist during this man’s life, the world would have likely never known of Bruce Lee, the very embodiment of martial arts. His films were all about the power that could be derived from being a master of this most physical of arts. They were realistic in the portrayal of the movements (get kicked in the face and you are not likely to brush it off and keep fighting) and were some of the best proponents of the martial arts in the western world. Everyone who studies martial arts, I imagine, would like to be as good as him and I would dare say that action stars would like to have the same pull to their films that Lee had to his.

Jackie Chan does films that are comedic in nature, but he does his own stunts and that lends credibility to his skills and that is why I think he was close to being the next "Bruce Lee". Jet Li is more artsy with his fantastical moves and makes the viewer wish they could have kung-fu skills of story book proportions and that is why I think he has the pull to his films that Bruce Lee had. So, who’s next? Who will try to combine the realism and credibility of Jackie Chan and the power and awe of Jet Li? Who will come the closest to Bruce Lee since, well, Bruce Lee?

That’s really hard to say. However, there is this one guy… Phanom Yeerum, aka – Tony Jaa. Now, his film credits are rather limited right now, appearing only as a stunt double in “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” for Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and James Remar (Lord Rayden). But he has a film, which, oddly enough, had action scenes used in interstitial runners at the Alamo Drafthouse for the last year or so. Anyway, this film is called Ong-Bak. I think this film came out in 2003 but I never saw it advertised in the States until now. It looks a little antiquated (film quality wise), but that could due to where and what budget was involved in the production. Could give it some flavor. At any rate, the film looks like it has raw martial arts talent and no gimmicks (wires, computer graphics, photography hoo-ha) to muddy the pure nature of the sport. Tony could be the next Bruce. Who knows. I’d like to see it all the same.

Elsewhere: Santa isn’t real?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Bringin’ Home The Mouse

So I pick up my wife at the airport in an hour. Man, did I ever miss her. And, boy, is she in for a surprise. I used the time that she was in Chicago to completely redo the closet (found a water leak, that turned into an exciting day, yesterday), clean the master bedroom (which was totally annoying her) and build her a porch swing.

I'm sleepy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Er… Blog

So, ya, I haven't made a post since before Thanksgiving, but I don't have to explain myself to you people… not like there are bunch of “you people” out there to have to explain to…

Anyway, about a week ago, an old Lineage buddy of mine got a hold of me (through this blog, no less) and it kind of made me miss that game a great deal, specifically the guild (BloodPledge) system in that game. Unfortunately, I am pretty bad with playing more than one MMORPG at a time, so FFXI is the only game for me right now. Sure would be nice to have him join FFXI, hehe. At any rate, I will try to keep up with him and not lose touch like I did the last time.

In other news, my wife is in Chicago… blah… and I have to wait until Wednesday evening (tomorrow night) to see her again. I have missed her a lot these past few days and am grateful she is coming home soon. She will have quite the surprise when she gets home (*wink*wink*). We will also go in for our next OB/GYN appointment on Friday! I am pretty excited about that. I am not sure, but I think we get to hear the heartbeat this time. HOLY CRAP!

Elsewhere — yet another Salad Fingers. This one goes rather scary at the end, not that the others weren’t disturbing, mind you. Mr. Firth frightens me. Really. There is something wrong with him. I can't wait until #6.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is upon us and so the Holidays begin.

Iconfactory.com seems to be up to something, but God only knows what.
The fine folks at Typographica have just clued me into education that I drool about but will never have.
Cameron Moll has instantiated another Screen Grab Confab (I love those) and in so doing, it looks like Tori Amos’ website is to get a face lift. (There might be someone else you recognize as well -.^)

I am going to be prepping and then smoking the turkey this evening (another 24+ hour marathon of holiday madness for me). This weekend, I am going to spend as much time as possible with Melissa. She deserves the attention.

Have a good turkey day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

When Good Shows Go Bad

I don't watch a lot of TV. At least, I try not to. Now, I feel I have more reason not to watch television — aside from the fact that the majority of TV is just mindless fodder anyway.

One show that my wife just loves is "Gilmore Girls", on the WB and we try to catch it every week. It is a pretty witty and stimulating show and the girls have their fair share of drama and what-not. Well, on the episode last night it was made clear that they (whether “they” being the writers, producers or actors themselves) are not in support of the President. How do I know? Well, they promoted MoveOn.org by way of Lauren Graham (Lorelai Gilmore) saying to her mother, “Yes. Move on. Moveon.org” (which was a response to her mother getting back into the dating scene).

Shame on you, "Gilmore Girls". Keep your political agendas, regardless of whom they represent, out of your show. It just has no place there. Whether for or against the President, I don’t want to hear it, specifically if it is done in a sneaky and "out-the-side-of-the-mouth" fashion.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Planning On A Plan

I need to get back on the DSNLG bandwagon and churn out some stuff. I think I need to do the same for SPeCks as well — I've almost forgotten what they look like. I am also planning on making another desktop wallpaper for the “Where’s My Pickle” series. Now, the chances of all that actually happening? Who knows…

Hitchhiker’s Guide is coming to the big screen. I should read the book. It’s supposed to be funny. I should read a lot of things…

Regardless of the message — “What Barry Says” is an excellent example of motion graphics. The type (Tasse) is unexpected but highly effective for a constructivist-inspired piece. Negative space is used with such finesse that it almost becomes pleasantly dominant. I have always been a fan of propaganda posters, purely from an artistic point of view. This short-film is no different.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Feeling Creative

I read a good story, yesterday, by Pfuzzy (another Blogger). It’s not bad.

Well, it got me a bit inspired to make a page for some of the stories that I have actually jotted down in the past. While not the first one actually written, I have posted one to that page. Jakob Koli.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I Don’t Do Windows

IE for Windows is a joke. What a nightmare of a program. As a designer, and Mac-addict, I am proud to only sport two programs on my machine that bare the mark of the beast. Those being Windows Media Player (far too many sites employ this web-video format) and IE for Mac (to test websites with, ironic that an outdated, no-longer-supported web browser is more compliant than the latest and “greatest” available for Windows users). Even Forbes agrees IE is a waste of code.

I pray that one day websites will make use of the following text on their homepages:
Best viewed with any browser other than Internet Explorer.

Until then — might I suggest downloading the final 1.0 build of Firefox. Do spread the love folks.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Incredible Talk Radio

Who would have ever thought that NPR could be so addictive? Certainly not I, and yet… for the last week I listen to it through-out the day. I am sure the novelty of it will wear off by the middle of next week, to which I will return to listening to my usual library of music. I am considering playing with thoughts of NPR logo designs. I like NPR’s current one, but it seems it could use an updated look, but perhaps that is part of the theme for NPR. Exercise is exercise.

Today is the release of “The Incredibles”. I would really like to see this today, otherwise, I will try to see it this weekend. I have really liked all the Pixar films and feel this one will deliver like so many others.

Cup Stacking is awesome. So is pen spinning.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Little Trick

Take out a coin. Quarter, dime, nickel, whatever. Now flip the coin three (3) times. Make note of what comes up — Heads or Tails. Which one came up more?

You can use this trick to determine a decision because one will come up more times than the other. Kind of a majority rules thing. Sure, it's random, but the principle is still there. The majority rules.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Spooky Scene

Halloween is just too damn much fun. On the 29th, my office had an Employee Social where we could dress up and I wore the same get-up I had last year. However, this year, I was sporting new “pants”. A Hakama style pant made exclusively for someone with an extra 2.5 feet of leg. I won “Scariest Costume” and I deserved it. MWAHAHAHA! I have no idea who the guy beside me is. Poor soul looks absolutely terrified, though, doesn’t he?

Sunday, unfortunately, my costume’s left stilt suffered a crippling injury. The whole back-end came apart forcing me to abandon my high perch and carry the costume back. I did get around the neighborhood pretty good and was on the last bit anyway, so it wasn't a total loss. I love the haunting and just out-and-out freakishness of the costume, but I might go with another costume next year. Of course, it will have
to be equally (if not more so) as frightening as the last two years ^^.

Monday. Ahhhh, Monday. You know what happened on Monday? I saw the most wonderful and fantastic thing in my life. There are very little things that will bring me to tears, or any man for that matter, but when you see your 7-8 week old baby’s heart beat in the womb, there is nothing more awe inspiring and frightening at the same time. What a miracle. Thank God for video! There are no words to describe what I saw. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.

And of course — it is Tuesday. November 2nd. Well… I voted and am damn proud of that fact. It's a privilege everyone should practice. When you slide that completed ballot in the box, you are allowed to complain. And that is what it is all about really — the right to bitch about something. It's the American way! If you don't vote, shut up. Period.

Friday, October 22, 2004


I have been on DSNLG for a while now and one of the better dudes that participates on the site is Kevin Cornell. He also has his own wacky site, Bearskinrug (also his alter ego, online persona). However, there is so much going on with Mr. Cornell, that it is just a wonder if you ever see it all. After a visit to one of my Dailies, I discovered ’ol Bearskinrug has one of his sketchbooks online. It is just awesome. Sometimes, I wish I had that kind of illustrative talent. I guess I will just have to make due with drooling all over myself in awe of other’s talents.

Personally, I have 2 sketchbooks already “completed” and am currently on page 202 of Sketch III. The first two (while not completely cover to cover full of stuff) are basically archived on a bookshelf. When I complete S3, it will rest beside them. Thus will spawn Sketch IV. I have been working in S3 since November 1st, 2001. And -it- is quite full. It will be my first cover-to-cover sketchbook.

There’s a new Orisinal game available. High Delivery. Very beautiful.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Haunted GUI

I'm a little slow, but better late than never. I visit the Iconfactory whenever I remember that it is the number 1 resource for all things GUI with regard for your Macintosh. They are the best. This is a fact and am sure they have a patent on it somewhere.

Anyway, they have updated their website to reflect the holiday season — that being Halloween. I love Halloween. And when I say “love”, I mean in the “scare the crap outta da kiddies” sorta way. Icons are the best way to decorate your computer's desktop and Iconfactory never fails to deliver. Currently, their entire site has new icons on the homepage for each section as well as some new freeware icons in the Scareroom (Showroom, hehe) available for download. I am really digging on the Snappy Hour stuff by Mindy Weaver. The original artwork, for Snappy Hour, was developed by Derek Yaniger of Mister Retro fame (as mentioned in a previous post regarding the worn look). At any rate, please visit the Iconfactory to see the latest in greatest in spooktacular icons!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Long Time…

I haven't written to this blog in a while. Quite a while actually. Probably the longest I have gone - perhaps not, who cares. The reason is rather simple. I was (and still do when I think of it) use this blog as a sounding board. Well, me and my wife are communicating on an outstanding level now and she is serving as that sounding board. This place is just a diary of sorts and doesn't offer much actual communication between the poster and the readers. It's one-sided.

I suppose that means I need to just talk to myself more. Or not, as I often don't care what I have to say in the first place. I need to reinvest in DSNLG. I miss the pleasures of just designing.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Shelving Mementos

Earlier last week, I had purchased the Promise statue (a Willow Tree Figurine) for my wife as a show of my wish to be with her forever. That Friday, I came home to my favorite flower in a color I didn't know it came in. Red. Red calla lilies are rather gorgeous. And they just crested above the white gerber daisies, my wife's favorite flower, set in a tall red vase. Very elegant. Very beautiful.

On Saturday, we made a decision to really tackle our entertainment center problem. That being, we didn't have one. We have an unruly TV. Simply ridiculous, actually. It is oversized, overweight and couldn't be more non-standard. With that said, finding an entertainment center to hold it was nigh impossible. Solution? Build it yourself. Skandia will do. So we bought a good bit of Skandia's wonderful shelving system and put it together. Now our entire wall looks fresh out of a catalog and I love it!

My blog has officially been visited by 20 separate countries now. The twentieth country to visit this blog was The Netherlands. Lelystad, Flevoland, Netherlands, to be precise. They visited this blog from the link provided on my own website, accessed from the Portfolio section. There might be an issue with StatCounter's flag database, as it was displaying the Nigerian flag. However, accessing the analysis of the click-thru revealed all the information for The Netherlands.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Coming June 12th, 2005.

I love you, Melissa.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Blog Problems

Having issues accessing my blog. Had to email this one in. Will try and figure out the problem later today.

Friday, October 01, 2004

6 Months

A really nice site that I thought was clean and rather impressive looking was LiveStrong.org. It is the online presence of Live Strong, an educational program of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It uses nice color and has a clean layout. I could go there with no problems what-so-ever.

Now, however, it seems they have modified the site in some manner. I use FireFox 0.9.1 and never had a problem with the site before but now the site apparently no longer supports my browser. I get a redirect page that tells me to upgrade my browser to IE 5+ (how is -that- an upgrade?!) or to Netscape 7.1 — of which I will do neither. Moreover, even if I did sacrifice the quality of the browser to view the site, I still can’t because they say the site no longer works for Macintosh users. WTF?!?!?! What moron recoded the site and thought that was a good idea? Why would you change something that was clearly working before?

Last night, we went to Austin Park & Pizza for my niece's 8th birthday. She is becoming her own little person and it is rather weird. Anyway, one thing they have there is LaserTag. You wear a vest that people shoot at and you get points for "killing" them. So, we start out and I am doing really well. I was managing to "kill" off people before they could "kill" me. It was neat, until I decided to be kewl to my niece and have her shoot me. I didn't "die". Ooookay… My mother was there playing as well and she was getting frustrated because I wasn’t dying as she shot me in the back — that’s humorous just by itself. So, I start asking everyone to shoot me. I won’t die. I was INVINCIBLE!!! I walk to the front and, along with my sister, explain to the attendant that it seems I am immune to laser attack. The employee shrugs and says, "Ya, looks like it." I start giggling with glee and begin my rampage of laser carnage!!! Once everyone realized I was unable to be "harmed" they started having fun by just trying to avoid me.

AP&P also has video games. One such game that my wife and I really enjoy is beatmania. It is a DJ style game similar in play to DanceDanceRevolution except with piano keys and a turntable. So it is all finger work and the wifey is pretty good at it. Now all I gotta do is scrounge up 1300 dollars!

Oh, and by the way, I have been at my current job for 6 months now (unofficially). Yay me for not getting fired!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Info On Info

On October 7th, next Thursday, I will be attending an Information Design seminar/course given by Edward Tufte. This fine gentleman is an artist, a designer and information architect, as it were. I believe I had the pleasure of being at a design show that featured him as a speaker, but that was back in college and am not sure if it was, in fact, him. I made a right fool of myself during his talk.

The good news about this “course” is that I get stuff. Three books and a poster. So even if I am caught up in a whirlwind of confusion during the course, I can always review the books afterwards. And I like posters.

Elsewhere: Hexstatic is a group that dishes up some nice grooves. And their website is pretty groovy too. I loved my View•Master (or Master•View, or whatever the hell it was - clicky=piccy). I personally recommend the Salvador video for your viewing pleasure as well as Chase Me (also featured in the Toons section of Weebls).

Monday, September 27, 2004

Weekend Update

This last weekend was pretty “action-packed” as it were. Friday, we went over to a friend’s house for a movie night gathering of several people. The wives (including my own) got their hair cut whilst the men watched Empire Strikes Back. I think we were more interested in poking some good fun at ESB more than actually watching it. "Daddy? Really? Boy, have you got some back child support to make up for!"

Saturday was to be a lovely trip to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, but with a bit of rain, it was thought best not to go. Mostly because the butterflies wouldn’t be out and while walking along a path of wildflowers during a light sprinkle would be nice, the intent was to see some butterflies as well - for the whole package. So that will have to wait until this next weekend, I imagine.

Yesterday, we did the usual grocery shopping and such. We got my niece some nice birthday gifts (that’s coming up) and we also bought some new sheets that reminded us of the Wilderness Lodge, our hotel during our honeymoon. After all that, it was off to the office to get a little extra work done. The best part? My wife was there with me. It really kept me on track (oddly enough) and I really appreciated her company. We were having such a full day, I didn't want it to end with me spending 4 hours at work hammering out stuff alone.

Animated .GIFs can be so damn cool sometimes. Stick figures are apparently quite versatile.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Today, I got my “new” diploma in the mail. As many of you know, I graduated from Southwest Texas State University. Well, gone the way of the dodo is SWT(SU) and it is now known, simply, as Texas State University. Now, fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with that, I actually quite dig it - except I didn’t graduate from TSU, I graduated from SWT. Sure, it is the same buildings, same city, same colors, it just doesn’t seem like the same school anymore.

Because of the name change, Texas State is offering (I imagine they still are, at least) new diplomas with the new "Look, Feel and Name" of this inevitably prestigious university. I love my old diploma. It is class. It is refinement. It is TSU. But, I won't have people giving me confused German shepherd looks when they see it, so I buckled under the pressure and got a version of the new one as well. Like the school traveled back in time with the new name and issued me the diploma like it would had I walked today.

A couple of differences:
1) Obviously, the name. Duh… So now it says Texas State University. Yeah. Interestingly enough, however, the city locale is treated differently. San Marcos is more pronounced, some 10 pts larger at least, maybe more. And they removed “Texas”. Of course, I am not sure why they really needed to identify the state Southwest Texas State was located in, but hey.

2) No color. On my old diploma (I graduated in ’98 during the centennial celebration) there is this gorgeous 4-color logo mark at the bottom. Sure, the school’s seal is absent, but my diploma celebrates 100 years of higher education. So, with the new one — seal. Foil stamped in gold. Nice. Elegant. I think foil stamping is cheaper than 4-color (it’s just one pass through the press).

3) My name. Ya, I’m pretty sure they screwed this up. On all my official documents I go ahead and accept my middle name and show it off. Old diploma = Full name, all spelled out. New diploma = middle initial. I know for a fact I put my full middle name for something such as this. Aside from that - it is a slightly different font. Same Old-English style, but just enough of a variance to be distinguishable.

Overall - I like it. It really is nice. The font is bigger across the board for all elements and the foil is a nice touch. 50 years from now, I will be just as pleased with my old diploma though. There’s something about getting your bachelor’s that makes a single piece of parchment worth more than anything else. My wife’s on the other hand is, hands down, cooler than mine. St. Edward’s has a regality that completely overshadows any state school.

PS: In the envelope containing my diploma, there was also another “new” diploma. One for Mindee L. Thweatt, BS – Computer Science, ’92. Summa Cum Laude even. Nice. Congrats Mindee! Now I just gotta figure out how to get it back to the university.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

That’s A Moire!

Today, we shall discuss the moire (pronounced more-ray) print effect. This effect is basically the result of the halftone screen process used in modern printing where patterns of small dots are overlayed to produce color and shading. It can also be the result of poor scanning. Ultimately, for my job, it is bad. I don't think there is a time I would approve of a printed piece that is suffering from a moire pattern. An example can be seen below:

A more mathematical method of showing this effect can be seen in this sample. It is catchy and neat, but when I am trying to have a very important program printed, I do not want my block colors and photo images to have this pattern. To me, it is poor craftsmanship to even show a proof with this effect all over it.

Now, my wife and her adorable missy-isms (or so we call them) might consider it very pleasing to have an eel on your print. It is sea-animal friendly! While I’d agree that sporting aquatic life in my work would give it a certain “fun factor”, this particular piece might not benefit from it as much. I will work some morays into my next project…

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Sometimes in life, things can happen that will change you forever. This weekend, I found my wife again and, thusly, my life again. I love her so much and will do anything for this woman. She is the very reason I go on. My wife is exceptional. She always has been and always will be. I can adore no other as I do her.

Saturday was the start of a new day. A new opportunity. We went to the Pottery Barn and purchased a little night light that looked like a mini-lamp. Very nice color. I won't be lost at night anymore, stubbing my toes, running my face into the hall divider. We had Chick-Fil-A for lunch. My wife is on a diet that has a core-foods list. She was spot on the entire day which was just awesome. Her lunch was better than mine, but I could not eat mine. I did have some of her fruit bowl, however. We tried to get Virtual PC for her laptop, but had no luck at the Apple Store. We -will- get it though as she needs it for her CPA courses.

Sometimes, printing companies are a bit messed up…

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Gmail Is Good-Mail

Gmail. What's it all aboot? Well, the big bonus to Gmail is the searchability of all your emails, and with 1Gig of storage, deleting them isn't necessary. Can't remember the birthday of your 3rd cousin, twice removed, but got an email of his birth notice 9 months ago? Search the little bugger's name and Gmail will pull up the email for you. There are a bunch of other features that I have obviously yet to examine, but, who knows, this may be my new means of online email checking!

So, ya, I got that going for me now. Thanks to my good friend for hooking me up with a little Gmail action! To get a hold of my new Gmail addy, leave a comment or something. Or email me at my other email with Subject: n3w! (so it doesn't get deleted if you are not in my Address Book).

Our friends over at Orisinal have a new game. More fun than a barrel of monkeys, it’s Sliding Monkeys!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

No News Is Good News…

Sometimes… what I mean to say is… well… crap…

…here, watch this instead — Salad Fingers, EP4.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Dark Gorgeous

Quite a long time ago, I found myself at a rather hauntingly beautiful website. This was some four years ago. Recently, I stumbled onto this little game concerning scarecrows and the crows they must scare to continue living. Well, I immediately recognized the art in the game. I traced the site back to MyPetSkeleton — a portfolio site, of sorts, for Vincent Marcone. I was soon reminded of the beauty that is this man’s disturbingly delicate designs. Of course, he is also a part of Johnny Hollow, a group of artists that make exceptional music together.

In support of the “band”, I am posting a banner-link to their site amongst the menu items to the right. I recommend the purchase of their CD. I await my copy’s arrival in the mail.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Catch Up

Sit back, grab a cup of whatever, let's discuss shall we…

So I haven't posted in a while. Ya, I have been really busy. There is a lot going on at the office. And I mean a -lot-. I have felt that I have had more of a design mindset lately, however, so that is good. I have paid more attention to font combinations (Bembo and TheSans work well together). Finding good type is always a challenge. What font best fits the feel you are trying to convey? Which combinations balance or challenge each other? Do you want contrast or consistency? I went to a couple typographic related forums, read articles, did a bit of study to figure out some “best practices” on type selection. I feel a little more like the designer I want to be.

One of the design elements that give me the most grief is color. Trying to figure out good color combinations is a bit daunting at times. But I came up with ten combinations for one project and though only one will be picked, I think all of them actually work and look forward to using them on future projects. Again, I did some research before I chose the ten sets to be “judged”. A great resource in this was Jim Krause’s Color Index. I personally recommend any and all of the Index books by Krause. They are excellent resources, if nothing more than to activate those juices.

Questions are important. Unfortunately, for me, I sometimes forget to ask myself any. I will be staring at my sketch book, just sitting there, like I am expecting the page to magically expose a solution to me. “Here, Terry, wouldn’t this be neat looking?” That’s never going to happen — on blank paper, that is. I have seen a lot of design inside of other things, but never on a blank page in my sketch book. Maybe it’s broken, I don’t know. Anyway, I find that if I ask questions I will often come up with a solution much faster. Ask yourself simple questions and when you provide the answer, you feel accomplished and challenge yourself to a harder question and so on and so forth. Sometimes, however, I will just be staring onto that blank page asking question after question with no solution at all.

One of the things that I have discovered about myself is that I am useless without my pencil. It isn’t a special pencil. I didn’t get it as an heirloom from my 18th Century Great-Uncle on my mother’s side, or anything. I got it in college. A Sanford Pro Touch II - 0.5mm. The ink on the side is rubbed completely off leaving only the slight deboss of the printing. I can not find a replacement for the eraser. The silver chrome has worn off most of the metal parts, leaving behind a dingy bronze color. Despite all its imperfections, it has a certain something that “helps” me work. Without it, I feel insecure and confused. Even if I don’t use it, knowing where it is and having it close is comforting. I don't even remember when I bought it.

SPeCks has, once again, taken a back seat to the “real” world. Oh… so you’ve noticed. No you haven’t. Liar. But at any rate, I miss those little guys and feel bad that I can’t bring them out to play right now. I suppose, eventually, I will have a better schedule for dealing with the little buggers, but for now, it’s too much for me to handle. I think the fact that it is so story-driven makes it also difficult to maintain. I have thousands of short stories in my head. And when I mean short, I mean really really short. 700 words short. For perspective, this post is up to 668 words. 669 if you count ‘words’. Turns out a short story is no longer than 7000 words (according to Zoetrope All-Story). That’s a lot of words for a short story. Granted, All-Story has contests with submission rules for stories no longer than 5,000 words, but still, that’s long to me. Hell, last year’s winner, “A Year Above Christmas Tree Lane,” was 6,449 words long. Cheater.

If you are interested, you might have noticed that my flag collection to the right has grown, steadily, over the last couple of months. There are now 17 countries represented in the graphic. For those that have forgotten, I have a stat-counter that has a nice feature telling me where someone is, in the world, when they view this blog. The internet is an awesome thing.

How have I never heard of Ken Jennings?!?

Monday, August 30, 2004

Last Call For Spam

Alright folks, starting September 1st (that's this Wednesday) my super email filter goes live. Basically, if you are not in my address book, I will -not- get your email. I have made a pretty diligent effort to include all those emails that “matter”, so hopefully this will all work out. I will be including a rule for emails that new people might send or in the event of a change in your address. Please include the following in the Subject: portion of the email if you are sending from a new address or are unsure if I have you in my address book:


Ok, now that we have that sorted… SPeCks - erm… ok, so, uhm, look I have a full-time job and some other projects going on that kinda put personal hobbies on the back burner. I miss the little guys too, but they will just have to wait to come back out and play.

Rule #11 says it all.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Bleep This

No more dreams. Pack up your imagination. Forget about trying to be humorous. Scared and paranoid idiots belonging to, apparently, powerful groups have put their big, fat thumbs on your commercial viewing pleasure. America has some of the biggest bankrolls to make the coolest commercials — but the best commercials are seen in foreign countries or are labeled as ‘spec’ and will rarely, if ever, see the light of day (and even then, it is only on the internet). Why? Because there are groups out there that would like to control what you see in this ‘free’ country. First Amendment be damned when a remote is involved.

Recently, since the start of the Olympics, GM was showing a commercial for their new line of ‘Vettes. A little tweak on the body style of these cars, I don’t think there is anything new under the hood, but that isn’t what this post is about. Anyway, the spot is a ‘dream sequence’ of this kid rippin’ it up on the highways and through a construction yard. Directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch, BMW short film, various music videos), this bit of 30 second goodness is pretty nice to watch. It ends when the kid snaps out of the day dream holding his skateboard and looking at the car across the street. Then it’s back to the drudgery of being a child without a license to thrill. Wanna see it? Jumpin’ Jack Flash. “The all new Corvette. The official car of your dreams.” Until we slap you awake with spiked gloves so you can’t see this obvious travesty of public safety.

To me, this has just gone a bit overboard on saying what is appropriate for viewers. What we, as a civilization and society are capable of determining to be right or wrong. They say kids are getting dumber every day, that their lives are softer and more fragile in this crazy world. I think that it is complete bullshit. They are getting that way because of censorship. Kids aren't degenerating into soft lumps of meat naturally, they are being molded that way. A friend of our’s is pregnant. In a book of her’s, it says to not drink herbal tea. Well… erm… what do you think the Chinese were drinking 1000 years ago when they were pregnant?

Detectiooooooon - YA!

Thursday, August 26, 2004


A while back, I got an iPod as a birthday gift. It is awesome. Being able to carry your entire digital music library from one computer to the next is amazingly fun. Wanna know what’s better than that? Listening to it in your car.

Enter iTrip. This little gizmo plugs into the top of your iPod and allows you to set a station and then listen to your library through your car’s radio. The default station is 98.9 and in Austin, that is no good. It just cuts out too much with bleed from more powerful, real radio stations. No worries, the makers of iTrip (Griffen Technology) provide helpful software to find radio stations in your area that are most likely free — meaning they only have static and no signal. I changed the station my iPod would use to 97.5 but that turned out to be sketchy at best. You know how in some sitcoms/movies/funny stuff, they show a person standing in a weird pose so the reception on their TV comes through? Ya, I kinda had to do that with my iPod. While driving. If I wasn’t at least touching the iPod, it would fuzz in and out of clarity as it competed for the station broadcasting from -Houston-. So, for the last week I had been testing several stations (while still having 97.5 set) trying to find one that is predominately static for the entire day. 94.1 was looking good for a while, but then I noticed something odd. When on my street (and on my street only) the station would lose it's silent nature. It isn’t that there is another station bleeding into it that is odd. It’s that there are -three- competing for it. A Tejano station, a country station and a general mix station. It’s just bizarre, and it only happens on my street. Anyway, I have finally discovered a station - 91.5. It worked all the way to work and we shall see how it does all the way back home.

Erm… nothing else for today… go home.

Monday, August 23, 2004

More Olympic Rambling

The Olympics are rife with sports for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, unless you are actually there or get cable, you can only watch whatever event NBC decides to show in their 8-hour block. So you will most likely see tons of gymnastics, track and field, swimming, diving, and perhaps some martial arts. What you are less likely to see are the air rifle finals, badminton or handball. Oh sure, you might get highlights like the game winning slam in table tennis or the calculated bullseye shot in any of the shooting competitions, but never the lead up and stories behind the competitors.

However… some “sports” just beg for media attention. They are either so fun or “neat” to watch that the network can’t possibly deny airtime. One such event is Trampoline. OK — who hasn’t jumped on a tramp and loved it (no pun intended)? Trampolines are seen in several backyards, these days, and I am soon to get one of my very own. I’ve always wanted one and it looks like I might be able to finally bounce my way to euphoria and health soon enough. Anyway, this event is only in its second Olympics but it has proven to be a tough sport indeed. Remember those games of Add-On you used to play? Someone would do a trick and then the next up had to do that trick followed immediately by another trick (often times a bit more difficult than the first to weed out the lesser jumpers). Well, imagine being the 10th person to go after 9 other gymnasts/divers/insane people. That is trampoline in the Olympics. You have to perform 10 consecutive tricks (10 “bounces”) and your first one sets the height to which all others must reach lest you be deducted for the loss of altitude. You are also deducted for traveling across the rectangular shaped trampoline. You are also deducted for obvious things such as form breaks. Control is king in this sport and any lack of it could result in your hurling body some 50 feet -away- from the mats. Oh, and a deduction. I think this could be called a sport just as much as diving is a sport. I mean, in diving, you fall off a platform and twist and flip before piercing the cooling waters of potential victory. In trampoline, you are doing the same thing, except you are going the opposite direction and you have to do it ten times in a row. It is an amazing thing to watch, these men and women who literally jump at the chance for gold. Bounce!

Watching some other sport in which Chile was participating, I couldn’t help but notice their flag. Anyone been to Texas? Chile’s current national flag was established in 1817. Texas’ 2nd (and current) design was established in 1839. Charles B. Stewart of Montgomery County is credited for the “Lone Star State’s” flag design. Perhaps Mr. Stewart took a trip to Chile, no?

The first flag, approved by the President of the Republic of Texas (Sam Houston) in 1836, was a golden five pointed star centered on an azure background. I love our state’s flag. It’s strong and there is no denying what state it belongs to. However, I think I would have preferred the original “National Standard of Texas”. We’re bigger than most countries in the world and a good many Texans would like to see Texas return to being its own nation (fantasy such as it is). If that were to happen, perhaps the old flag would be hoisted once more. Imagine -that- at the Olympics.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


I know, it has been a while since I last posted. Over a week. Well, not that there hasn’t been anything exciting to report. On the contrary. The Olympics alone have taken their toll on my time. Particularly of late because Gymnastics is occupying the majority of that viewing. I used to be in gymnastics (through high-school and college). So I like this sport a lot.

Speaking of the Olympics - how bout that Hamm? Fantastic! I feel a little for Yang Wei, however. He really had that locked up until high-bar. Poor guy. And those South Koreans. Absolutely amazing results from those fine fellows. You gotta feel a little for Kim Dae-Eun and Yang Tae-Young as well. They were putting up consistent scores with no horrible performances and that effort resulted in Silver and Bronze for their country, but they were still edged out by someone who -was- in 12th place. All the same, way to go, lads. But Hamm. Paul Hamm. Coming from a barn in Wisconsin to the gold medal podium in Athens. Just incredible. After a disaster of a vault, landing him a 9.137, it looked like his dreams of Olympic Gold were shattered beyond recovery. It would be easier to repair fine china dropped from 10 stories up. If there is such a thing as Olympic Gods, they certainly showed themselves to the world on that night. Yang Wei, fumbles on high-bar, dropping to eighth. Brett McClure dropped from third to ninth on his final event, Rings. Ioan Silviu (of Romania) dropped to 4th after a decent, yet disappointing, parallel bar routine. This opened the door for Hamm to recover from his vault. You don't get second chances at the Olympics. At least, not usually. But Paul got 2 second chances. Parallel Bars: 9.837. Phenomenal grit and steadfast nature when most athletes would crack to the pressure. He saw others falter and he capitalized on it, resulting in a jump from 12th to 4th in the standings. Quite a leap from someone who sat down moments before. He said he was now fighting for bronze. Working for third place. Not considering a gold, but not considering failure or quitting either.

On his last event, high bar, he had his last chance for any kind of medal. He had misfortune strike him in the team competition on this very event. A missed third release move helped fade America's dreams for team gold. He now stood under that bar with hopes of bronze and memories of missed moves and fumbled landings. But what makes a true Olympic champion? Apparently, conviction and a strong routine. 9.837 — Again! Of all the high bar routines, Paul Hamm led the pack. And he led it well.

Olympic champions don't give up until that final score is posted. Even third place is worth fighting for and when you drive to get every ounce of tenths, hundredths and thousandths of a point out of your routine, you get them. Paul Hamm got them. Every last one he could giant swing out of that routine. Point-Zero-One-Two. That was the spread between First and Second. Gold and Silver. Champion and Competitor. Paul Hamm was crowned champion because he fought for third place. That's an Olympic champion. The ones who fight no matter how hard they are knocked down. The ones who get back up and shrug it off. The ones who want third as much as first. Here’s to Paul Hamm for getting gold in the Men’s Individual All-Around competition, being the very vessel of an Olympic Champion and a reason we get to hear crowds chant “USA!” at the Olympics.

In other news: sorry about SPeCks. This last week and a half (two weeks almost) has been rather busy. I have to remind myself that the comic is a hobby and shouldn’t dictate how I spend my free-time and weekends. I was a little stressed at the beginning of this week and while I am still motivated to do SPeCks, I just haven’t found the time to work on them lately. I anticipate page 3.4 to be up by the end of the weekend. The same with the DSNLG I have going now. Just no time to really look into a solid reply on that one yet.

And for those of you expecting something a bit on the lighter side; a sampling of the finer points of female parking: Drop In and Park Fu.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cartoons Are Fun(ny)

There are a couple of sites I frequent from time to time. Of these, Weebls has probably one of the best collection of webtoons to date. These guys (UK based) are best known for their irregular series, Weebl and Bob. There is is no rating for any given toon, but I will rate my Top 5 Favs on the site:

5) Merry Christmas — Now this guy has the Christmas spirit. Tell me this doesn't get in your head and stay there, boring a hole big enough for it to stretch out in and fill your entire brain case.

4) Magical Trevor — How could you -not- love Trevor?! He's magically clever!

3) Scampi — This is so bizarre, but the toon is undeniably catchy. Kuala Lumpar!

2) Kenya — hands down, they are just cute, cuddly and HOLY CRAP! LIONS!!!

And the #1 All Time Toon, offered by the good folks at weebls-stuff.com:

1) Badgers — If you have never seen this before, for shame. FOR SHAME!!!

I feel compelled to give an “Honorable Mention” to Clows. Nothing especially clever here, there are no words, however the music is a nice loop and the technicality of it is spot on.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Moral Game Participation

Is there such a thing as morality in a game? It’s just a game, after all. However, based on the rules of a game, if someone does something -against- the rules, then they are cheating. And if you are caught cheating then you are regarded as immoral. So, what happens if the cheating was a result of a need? Are you committing an immoral act then? But, then, it is just a game. Who are you hurting, really?

As you know, I play FFXI: Online. This game is very addicting and quite fun. However, being that half the players (perhaps more or less) are on PCs, there are third party programs available allowing players to “cheat” in the game. Most specifically, bots. Also, there are characters created with the sole purpose of amassing large amounts of the game’s money, or gil, for sell on the internet for -real- money. Often, there is a combination of the two (in the form of Fishing Bots). So what are the moral implications of buying gil/items online with real money and/or operating a bot in the game? This is probably one of the most heated debates relating to FFXI. A good example of one such debate can be found on the Allakhazam.com forums.

It is fact that the operation of a bot on the game is illegal (as stated by the Terms of Service and EULA for the game), however, there is (apparently) nothing expressly illegal concerning the purchase of anything, relating to the game, from an outside, third-party source, ie: website (of which has clearly used a bot to generate their product). By purchasing gil online, you are supporting illegal habits and methods prevalent in the game, and therefore (in my opinion) are considered immoral. Should a criminal rob a bank and then give you a cut of the money, you are no more innocent of the crime than the robber himself. Especially if you knew of how it came to be in his possession in the first place.

Legality aside, the motive for purchasing gil is the more egregious offense. By purchasing gil, you are circumventing the purpose of the game - that being the experience of playing the game. Your play is rewarded by the items and gil that is dropped in the game. Your play gives you the experience needed to be an affective, and contributing, member of the society that exists in the game. If you have gained your level/equipment/money via means outside of the games purpose, you can -NOT- be an affective player. You are a hinderance on the other players of the game. So despite the gil sellers performing illegal actions, it is actually the gil buyers (by their support and lack of play) who are performing the immoral behavior. They are saying that gil farming is ok, which in turn says that my poor gaming experience, as a result of gil farming, is not an issue.

FFXI is there, as a game, for your enjoyment and as a means of entertainment. If you forgo all the processes, by purchasing stuff online, then there is no reason for you to be playing the game. To those people I say, “Please delete your character and make room on the server for those who can and are actually trying to play the game.”

In happier news: SPeCks 3.3

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Today is my birthday. I am 29. A real 29. Not one of those 5th anniversaries of being 29, either. So, yeah… my birthday.

I am honestly not one for big celebrations of my birthday. I don’t dread getting older and having one day that specifically signifies it, but I just don’t get all into celebrating it. Milestone birthdays can be different. 29th birthdays… not so much. Oddly enough, it feels like I was 28 for a lot longer than just a year, too. Either the year took forever to finish out, or I was incredibly bored for a good portion of it. I tell you what, though, these last 4 months have just blown by. Says something about my job, I think. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Of course, as birthdays go, gifts can, and often are involved. No exception here. However, I am not one for being materialistic. I feel a bit guilty to get gifts for something as trivial as surviving another year. “Here! You’re still alive! Isn’t that fantastic? Have a Sony Universal Remote!” But sometimes you get gifts you don’t really expect or think about and those seem… nicer. I have received one so far. From my wife. For all intent and purposes, it might as well be the only gift I will get, cuz I may not remember what others give me — no offense. The -new- 40GB iPod. And so far, it is awesome. I mean really awesome. My only concern is that my grimy paws are muckin’ up the kewl metal surface of it. Gonna have to whip out the Oakley microfiber cloth to clean it up. I have 302 songs on it now. On shuffle. God, it’s sweet!

Speaking of Oakley (weird tangent, I know), a long time ago — about the time I was first getting paychecks — I used to buy these sunglasses without question. The first pair I got were Eye Jackets. Due to manufacture defects in the ear pieces, they broke. Two pairs. No more dumpin’ my money on those. So then I move to the Titanium (not sure if that is what they were called back then, closest to them now is the T-Wire). Those got stolen. That really made me made, cuz they were hella expensive. After that, I just stuck to $10 glasses. And you know what - no breakage, no stealing, long lasting useful sunglasses is what I had. Then while working as a waiter, someone happened to leave their sunglasses at the restaurant. Nice sunglasses. Oakley Straight Jackets. You know what happens to sunglasses left at restaurants for a couple of days? First come, first serve, baby! Guess who first come. Karma paid me back. Took a while, but I have now been the proud owner of someone else’s Oakleys for the last, oh… 8 months.

Happy Birthday to me! And while I am at it, Happy b-lated to my cousin (Aug. 3rd) and happy birthday to his mom (Aug. 5th). I should get a tattoo… I’m old enough to start trying to reclaim my youth, right?

America has a new team — and it looks like they putting more than the “F” in Freedom.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Further Font Findings

I am not nearly as knowledgeable of type as I would like to be. There are several designers out there that have a greater grasp (borderline obsession) of typography in comparison. But I am not here to compare myself to those designers. Only state that there are those out there more knowledgeable and my desire to attain a greater vocabulary of type.

I had mentioned before that I had interest in some fonts offered by Fountain. They are classic serifs that are dignified and clean. At least to me. I have mentioned other type offerings, such as Scala, that I would like to enrich my library with. I have recently discovered further offerings by Hoefler & Frere-Jones Typography, namely, Requiem. A beautiful specimen. Most particularly, the Y. I have mentioned my excessive use of Minion. I am sure at one point or another I expressed my fondness for Pontifex. These are all very nice, clean, readable serifs.

So what does this mean? I believe it means I enjoy the classical, elegant fonts available to designers. Oddly, there are just as equally beautiful sans-serifs that are not on my immediate favorites list, though I do have favorites among them. Officina, for example. Should H&FJ release Retina, no doubt I will be in search of funds to acquire it. What I like most about the serif fonts is that they seem to have more character, more effort in their design. Readability (not necessarily legibility) aside, they also give a better feeling for the piece in which they are used.

Salad Fingers is an excessively disturbing series created by a clearly deranged individual. Worse than a train wreck and certainly viewed at your own risk.

Monday, August 02, 2004

More Designs

IMG01 of One Track Mind is now up. Not really concerned with how this one gets rated. I just want to see how this conversation goes, really. I wish Scoab would reply to As Seen On TV but I don't want to rush him. I am not even sure when he visited the site last.

I got my haircut yesterday. Rather short too. It’s a little shorter on top than I like, but it doesn’t look bad. I give off a bit of a military air now. Could come in handy when I don’t get exact change at the local 7-11. Meh, it’s August, so it’s all good.

I am working on the second page of SPeCks #3. It should be up before tomorrow. So look out for it sometime this evening, maybe.

You know this has happened to you before, but this poor idiot… the glass isn’t even all that clean.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Back To School?

As a web designer, I make the designs/look/feel for a website. As a web developer, I try to implement those designs to be viewed whenever you go to www.kewlsite.com, or whatever. I am not as good a developer as I would like. This isn’t self-deprecating, it is just fact that I do not possess the multitudes of coding vocabulary I need to develop a site appropriately. I have designed and built some award winning sites in the past, but I designed them with the knowledge I would have to develop them. So the designs are beautiful in their simplicity. I used a ton of tables, too.

Now, however, I am designing sites that require accessibility and more compliant and flexible coding. This is the part where I am not 100% on yet. I know a couple of tricks. I know a lot of theory. I know a good deal about what is wrong and what is right with the web. What I am still shaky on, is the actual development part. This will have to change. As I work for an education based state agency, I should be able to find education in web development. [As a side note - there is a HUGE difference between development and design. It takes two, distinctly different mindsets. Those mindsets can, and often do, work very well together. But, much like the tango, it takes both to perform the deed.]

With that said, today starts my research on getting into a relevant course of study for web development and, most likely, a class on Flash (as that is something I am instructed to learn). And it looks like Monday will be the day that most of it gets hashed out.

Some inspiration for a more active pursuit of this was found at StopDesign with regard to his charitable rebuild of Microsoft’s website.

Though based in the UK, this is very important and useful information on emergency awareness.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Quick Note

I have initiated another DSNLG. This one concerning trains. My conspirator is maleachi, from Amsterdam. I about to get schooled, me thinks. I’ll try to be a bit more accepting of the critiques that come from this go. Of course, it’s not my first one anymore, so I think I am going to be naturally more relaxed about it.

Light day today. Been busy working. Happens.

PS: SPeCks

PSS: HAHAHA!!! I just noticed Suzi’s speech text is in the wrong color. Download it now folks while it lasts. It’s a color variant!!!

Monday, July 26, 2004

29 Hours

This weekend was quite the action packed adventure. I haven’t been so occupied in some time. It was very fun. Let’s go over some details, shall we?

Friday, July 23, 2004: Sarah McLachlan puts on a show at the Frank Erwin Center. I bought tickets in January as a Valentines present to my wife. She had a blast, I enjoyed the concert and we made an evening of it. This was a very awesome show. And just when you thought the 2nd encore would truly be the end of it, she comes out for yet another two songs. What a show-woman. Brilliant. After the show, we had planned to go to Reed’s Jazz Bar for some relaxing drinks and sounds. The place was a mad house of activity. Very busy. Too much for us, we decided, instead, to head to Amy’s Ice Cream. I got the Chewbacca - a combination of Gummi Bears®, Chocolate ice cream and Grape Nuts®. My wife got The Circus. Mexican vanilla, M&Ms and something else I can’t remember. Mexican Vanilla is very good. While we were there, they were redoing their chalkboard menu. As we arrived shortly after 12 (and with only an hour before closing), the Amy’s employees were very "punch-drunk" and silly. We got to having humorous exchanges and before you knew it, I was behind the counter writing one of the flavors on the chalkboard. I got to do Guiness Lime Ice. It also turns out that one of them is a student at Southwestern University at Georgetown. I told her I designed the logo for her school and she told me she liked it very much as well as being excited to be meeting the guy who designed it. We come home to a letter from the Texas State Board of Public Accountacy. My wife qualifies to sit for the CPA. This is a task that is not easy to accomplish, let alone actually taking the exam.

Saturday, July 24, 2004: Based on the fullness of the prior evening, my wife generously lets me sleep in. I am the luckiest married man out there. My wife has many papers due for her school studies, thus she will be indisposed for the majority, if not all, of the weekend. I use this time to play a -little- FFXI (eventually the largest understatement of my life thus far). There is an event going on in the game (SummerFest) and with that, comes prizes. I log on to play at approximately 11AM. My character is in a hell hole on the opposite side of the world from where I want to be. I catch a ship back "home" and begin participating in the global event. I get my prizes. I do some quests. I make some items. I do this for the majority of the day. I decide to go back to the very place I am beginning to loathe as it is one of the few that holds opportunity to actually level my character. My character is currently halfway through level 27. I get there at God knows what late hour on the 24th. I sit for what seems like forever for a party invitation. Eventually, 3 of us decide to form a minor party of our own to take on lesser monsters in a nearby area. We do this for an hour or so when we tire of the low rate of experience points gained. I have been playing for over 12 hours, but, oddly do not feel tired. Once again, I am in search of a complete party invite. My companions get parties soon enough and I am left to my own devices. Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour, the countless hours already on the game, or whatever, but I was in a very humorous mood. I was making everyone "LOL" with my creative /shouts for a party invite. Eventually, a group had an opening. The night was now beginning — at approximately 4 in the morning.

Sunday, July 25, 2004: I have been in the same party for many hours now. This group is very good and we are getting experience points at a phenomenal rate. Faster than I have ever before. For one reason or another, I forget how, leadership of the party gets changed to me. I take the reigns and also take it upon myself to maintain the dynamic that the party started with. I am successful in my campaign for experience points and good party dynamics. My party becomes the most sought after group in the area. People are literally lining up waiting for an opening in my party so they may join. My party sees the "Level-Up" of over 15 different players. I am ashamed I do not remember all their names. I will however mention Zenia and Illdin — the Mages that were integral in making my party -THE- best in the area. I, alone, leveled not once, but 3 times, becoming level 30 by the end of my run. At this level in the game, I should have been leveling faster, but I was pleased with the progress. I maintained the party (hiring members as needed) for over 12 hours. When it came time for me to relinquish leadership and step out of the party, I had to contend with 6 private messages (/tells) of people requesting inclusion in the party for which had made quite the name for itself. I ended my playing a little after 5PM. 29 straight hours. Not one complaint from the missus. You should be so lucky to have a wife as mine.

In celebration of getting level 30 and because the Taru Dance is the #1 (and ever evolving) /em on FFXI — Tötley Crüe’s Primal Scream!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Freshly Sliced

So I am due for a salad review.

Florida’s is a seafood joint with a pretty thick theme. “Oh, so it feels like you are in Florida, then?” Not necessarily. I felt like I was in Panama more than in Florida. Which is odd, cuz I have never been to Panama. But I have been to Florida. I never saw places in Florida that looked like this restaurant. Sure, some of the wicker shtuff seems reminiscent of Florida, but overall, I felt like I was on some beach resort in the lower carribean (Roatan came to mind). Maybe that is a part of Florida I haven’t seen yet. Maybe not. Not really the point.

So onto that salad. Real nice. This one had it all. All the good stuff, that is. Cheese, bacon bits, onions, hardy leaves, croutons, etc. The leaves were crisp and cool. The cheese was firm with a mild flavor which is best for salads. I find sharp cheddars to be too much for salads. The bacon bits were plentiful, but not overdone. I believe they were also real bacon, just finely chopped. It was of a good size overall. I wasn’t full afterward, but I wasn’t wondering if I had a salad. We had also started with an appetizer of coconut popcorn shrimp. The app came out first and we polished it off a bit before the salads came out. Timing couldn’t have been better. A little time for the tummy to realize it had only taken in an appetizer, then a fine “Howdy-do!” from the salad placed in front of you. The rest of the meal came out in a timely fashion (as was inevitably dictated by the salad service) and was very tasty. I ordered the Seafood Linguine — a combo of Shrimp, crawfish (of course) and calamari mixed in a bed of pasta with marinara. Lots of meaty pieces in that pasta. I was more than satisfied. My mother ordered the Pecan Trout. Fantastic! You could taste the pecans baked in and it was just wonderful. I recommend trying that dish, should you go. The prices were average with a couple of their pricier dishes hitting the $30 mark. Of course, those dishes include a large hunk of crustacean and a bit of the cow on the side. As a side note: the waitress was all over my glass of water. I love that.

With all that said, Florida’s is a great place to go for a family/group dinner. The layout is very open, so if you are looking for an intimate meal, you may not get it. But, it isn’t noisy inside and while we were in a uninhabited area of the restaurant, we didn’t feel secluded or, in another sense, at a private function.

Trust the salads.

Sweet Jesus! Samurai swords own all!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Typographic Dreams

Some of you might have noticed the set of flags that are at the bottom of the right column now. Those represent the countries this blog has received visitors from. So, I guess that means it is internationally known.

Type, type, type. Fonts are running heavy through my mind lately. I have a ton. If you consider 134MB a lot, that is. I do. I won't use 75% of them, I’m sure. Display, woodcut, gotik, dingbats, etc. What I really want, however, are some nice looking serifs. Like Montrachet and Monteverdi. For a long time, Minion was my font of choice. Still is mostly. Heck, the Smithsonian Institution’s logo is set in Minion. But I would use it for everything. Almost every design that had body copy was set in Minion. Maybe I have a thing for M’s. S’s aren’t bad either. Scala (from FontFont) is next on my “ridiculous purchases in the future” list.

Tonight, I have dinner to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Which is today. Not to be confused with the weekend birthday party celebrating her birthday, which is actually today. We are going to Florida Seafood Grill. Salad review to follow.

12,000¥! No matter what it looks like, it is still a watermelon. That’s $109 USD, folks.

Monday, July 19, 2004

50s Gig

This weekend was especially busy for me. Cranking out some updates for work related projects, cleaning the house, entertaining guests. The last two with regard to my mother’s 50th birthday. Needless to say, it was an all-day affair, Saturday. Sunday was more-or-less a day of recuperation as well as watching my niece for the remainder of the weekend. Generally, 50th birthday parties are festooned with black balloons and woeful scripting. Well, that’s not really a celebration, now is it. In my mom’s case, a 50s theme felt only natural. Records, classic cars, rolled up sleeves to secure your cigs, slicked back hair, long skirts and bright plastic set the atmosphere for a true birthday celebration.

I am fortunate to share many events in my life with my mother. I don’t lament on the loss of my father, that benefits no one. Rather, I rejoice the moments I had with him. However, I did find myself wishing my dad could have made it to 50. To see his brothers and sisters rib their younger sibling at reaching that milestone. To be a part of that celebration. I’ll never share another moment with him. But I will with my mom. I thank God for that. Bless those who are not as fortunate as me. Pray for those who can no longer find comfort in a parent.

hehe… so, SPeCks… did I mention I had a huge party at my house, with full guest rooms this weekend?

This just made me laugh. A lot. Strongbad thingy-majiggy.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Commercial Comics

Ok, so Analog Voyager plays good music. I like it. Very nice mix of artists too. But here’s something that doesn’t make sense to me, at all: there are commercials and you have to pay for it to be guaranteed a connection.

First of all, AV, you are an online radio station. There are, literally, thousands of you out there. And thousands that are 100% free. And many of those thousands do -not- have commercials. The bottom line is, there are 100s of other stations for me to easily click on. And clicky I will. Now, in the middle of the day, I might see if I can access AV again, but if I can’t, no biggie, I will simply go back to radioioAMBIENT or GrooveRadio or any number of other stations. Either way, there is no way in -HELL- I am paying for an online radio station. Especially one that has commercials as often (and as lame) as AV does. By the way, there are 41 stations to choose from under Electronica alone, and I don’t recall hearing commercials on any of the other stations, ever. Station call outs don’t count. I am talking about commercials for freakin’ RadioShack and University Alliance (online degree program).

So last night I am playing FFXI and all (doing Mission 2-3), when one of my old LinkShell buddies runs into me. Out of the blue, he asks, "So when are you gonna do more of that spider comic?" Well, damn, looks like I need to get off my ass and start actually making more SPeCks… I might do more illustrative one-offs to scan in and upload or something. Maybe in a different section. I don’t know.

I really like both the style and the humor of the comics created by Tom Gauld and Simone Lia. I want the books.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

In The Bol

Many times, I contemplate my place in the design community, and sometimes the world in general. Am I where I am supposed to be? Stuff like that. Currently, I think I am where I am supposed to be. I am still a designer, so that is a good start. I am happy with the people I work with. I don’t dread coming to work. When I wake up on the weekdays, I consider what I need to do around the house before I leave for work, but I never really think to myself, “Gee… I feel a cough coming on.”

I bring this up, because, a couple of people I have worked with in the past constantly mention how they want to start their own business to squeeze into the advertising industry. That is fine and all and I wish them the best of luck. It’s when they want me to hop on that cliff-bound vehicle with them, that I get a little itchy. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be my own boss, making the design decisions and such for a client. I think I might even be rather decent at managing the creative side of a small firm. -However-, I don’t want to. I am timid. That’s right, scared of dipping my toe into that particular pond. Right now, I am comfortable and secure. I am good at what I do and I am relaxed knowing that I could be here for quite some time. And, it is that timidness that I fear prohibits me from taking on full responsibility for a client’s business image. I kinda, sorta did it before (by myself) and I felt a lot of “coughs” coming on. I suppose that once I break through that shell, I would weigh the notion of my own business more heavily, but right now, I just don’t wanna. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I had lunch with the missus today. At Chipotle. She turned me on to their Burrito Bols a while back and because she was coming downtown today, we decided to get our lunch on. Last time I got the Bol, they failed to include the rice (I get the Fajita Chicken one). This time, rice all over the bottom of that bowl. Damn that's good eatin’.

I have seen the Blue Man Group twice now. Caught the first one in Vegas and the other right here in Austin. One of the things I like about this inventive percussive group is their instruments. With that said, I would love to see this Blue Man Dream Machine get actually produced.

PS: Having fans in NY rulez!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Groove To It

Found a new radio station in the iTunes line-up. Analog Voyager under Ambient. Very nice downtempo stuff featuring stuff from Supreme Beings of Leisure, Thievery Coporation, and I think I heard a little Tosca mixed in there somewhere. I would like to see iTunes do a better job of listing -all- the stations’ playlists (and, while we’re at it, AudioScrobbler to pick them up). Some of these songs are really nice, but I’ll never know what they are unless I log onto the station’s site (Analog Voyager requires IE to see their playlist — Good music, moronic site).

Bravenet.com sold my email addy! I now completely hate those donkey lovers. In the next month, I will be undertaking a hard-core email purging process. If you don’t want your emails (sent to -ANY- of my addresses) to be deleted on sight, make your plea now.

Clearly, Germany has a different approach to teaching safety amongst its blue collar community.

Monday, July 12, 2004

99¢ PowerBook

It’s a brand new day and the start of a fresh week. I’m sleepy.

100,000,000. That’s a lot of zeroes, my friends, and Kevin Britten bought the 100th million song from the iTunes Music Store. Congratulations, Kevin! You lucky son-of-a-… I’m not bitter, I attempted only once for one of the 20GB iPods awarded to purchasers of each 100,000th song downloaded between 95 million and 100 million songs. And last night, after coming from a friend’s house, I got online and checked to see where the total was resting at. 99,983,476. Of course, I had to at least try for the 100th million. I waited 5 minutes, as the Apple homepage was refreshing automatically every 5 minutes with an updated song count. 99,992,529. Great googley-moogley. Almost ten thousand songs sold in 5 minutes. Obviously, they were now going fast and the next refresh of the page would show that the 100th million song would be sold. I cruised through the store, found a nice little ditty by Bond and waited until around 2.5 minutes went by. Unfortunately, I either waited too long or click 'Buy Song' too early. Either way, my name isn’t Kevin Britten, I don’t live in Hays, Kansas and I am certainly -not- getting a 17-inch PowerBook (among other prizes) for 99¢.

In one short week, Apple managed to sell 5 million songs. That has to be some kind of record, some where. As a rough estimate, that is (before tax) $4,950,000. And that is saying all purchases were of single songs at 99¢ each. Close to 5 mil. Now, the grand prize also included a gift certificate for 10,000 iTunes songs. Again, at 99¢ each, that comes to $9,900. So take that from the 5 million sales and you still have close to 5 million dollars. There are some very happy marketing people right now.

I am really sorry about SPeCks. There is no way I can forget about them, but I am just not able to find the time to make new comics. There is a ridiculous amount on my plate right now and as the comic was just a hobby, at best, anyway, I simply can’t find the time to do it. Also, I am not satisfied with the direction the comic is currently taking. Not story wise, well, maybe a little, but mostly with regard to how I am presenting the comic pages. I think I can make it a bit more manageable, because right now, it is an absolute bear. And that is another reason why I don’t have time to do it right now.

I -LOVE- Orisinal’s website and their games are very, very fun in their simplicity. Except for Hungry Spiders. Spiders are always horrible little death bags. Even if you are killing them. *shudder*

PS: If you post a comment as anonymous I obviously can’t see who you are. With that said, posting “Dude, where you been?” doesn't help me and you are unlikely to get a more thorough answer. Also, knowing that you posted from a machine in Flushing, NY does not help me either. And for the love of bandwidth, stop refreshing on the same page. Gimmie more than 5 minutes to see that there is a comment to respond to. 18 page refreshes in 3 minutes from the same IP is just insane!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Last night, after work, my wife and I went to the mall to look into getting a birthday present for her mother. No luck on that front. However, we found ourselves, once again, in the Apple Store. We were looking at some educational kids software on the eMacs when I happened to look up and notice “Dr. Mac”, Bob LeVitus, walk into the store. Right up to the Genius Bar. He had his guitar and some other equipment with him and he didn't look like he was there to scope out the latest accessories for iPods.

What he -was- there for was to give a brief tutorial on Apple’s GarageBand. I didn’t know this piece of software, resting in the virtual dusty section of my Dock, was as powerful as it really is. We just happened to be there at the right time to catch this little seminar. With little to no musical talent, one can create a production-level score worthy of the next raise of John Williams’ baton. So we stayed to watch him whip out Rockaway Beach by the Ramones.

Speaking of music, I haven’t heard anything back from Apple regarding my corrupted download of Mysterious. I’m not sure how to handle this situation now. How do I get my money back for a bad MP3?

Lately, I have felt mentally drained. I have noticed that I tend to come home, maybe view one or two websites, then just want to go to bed after dinner. I barely play FFXI as much as I used to and don’t really feel compelled to either. I still love the game and playing it for 5 hours last night was great because Evan was on, but I don’t think I will get on tonight. It was really good to play a video game with my bud. Brought back thoughts of the old days when I had nothing to do but log on and hack indiscriminately at wondering monsters.

XiaoXiao started it (and started it well), but it looks like Ringfinger gonna finish it.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Game On!!!

I meant to make a post yesterday concerning the spectacle that was the 4th. Unfortnuately, I was just really busy. The 4th was neat. There were lights and stuff in the sky. Loud noises. I spent $80+ on big bang-bangs. I like mortars. However, my little party was over just as fast as it started, while everyone else in my neighborhood apparently had half of Libya's arsenal staged in their front yard. People were firing off stuff past 3AM. My display started at about 9 and lasted maybe 45 minutes. The rest of my community started at 8:30 and was blowing shtuff up until 3:30 in the morning. And not just BlackCats or 3 inch fountains. No. The 21 Shot Grand Blaster with the Double Packed Rose Performance. At 3AM.

Oh, and I was workin’ the BBQ pit. Ribs, sausage and shrimp all getting their roast on. I hadn’t used the pit in a while, but it all came back to me and we had some mighty fine grub.

Yesterday was a bit spooky. Most people, here in Austin, got the day off. City, private, etc. Except State. State employees, apparently, were subjugated to business as usual. No big whoop. But there was this weird air about the day. Like it was supposed to be a holiday. I mean, everyone was here like normal, but the atmosphere was real quiet and very non-business day… ish. Was just mildly haunting.

DSNLG is going a bit better. I have people commenting on their ratings. Like I said before, I don’t have a problem with a low rating. I have a problem with someone trashing it and not saying why. I guess I just need that form of justification.

Got some great news today in gameland. Evan snagged a copy of FFXI! The old gamers are together again! He picked a Tarutaru as he is all about the magics and shtuff. I so happy.

This is what you get when Anime goes Live-action.