Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Titles Are Hard To Generate…

So it’s been awhile. Sorry ’bout that.

Like I stated in a previous post, I am trying to make sure my posts are meaningful and justified in their purpose. Although, I might point out that, while telling your friends to love their pets is apparently all the rage, fresh posts (content wise) is always the better path. And lately, I have had nothing too terribly exciting to talk about. Except, of course, now, I guess.

Yesterday, I met with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to hop on board making some print collateral (poster, postcard) for a sponsored event. I am actually really excited about this. Not just because I can sport more pro-bono in the ’ol portfolio, but also because I dated a girl who lost her battle with CF (way back when and far to soon) and I have a friend who currently lives with CF. I am contributing to a cause that I have some familiarity with and it’s nice to feel like a human being. So this is good work that I am happy to be a part of.

I don’t watch TV nearly as much as I used to (thank God), but when I do, commercials are an inevitable part of it. Especially since I don’t get anything other than the basic channels. Well, BBDO shines like the ad agency gods they are with their new series of Mountain Dew spots. You can go here to see them if your rock is being renovated. I can say that, because I don’t watch TV that often (if at all) and even -I- have seen these commercials. Giving credit where it’s due, MethodStudios has some great special effects guys and outstanding resources for pulling these thoughts together. I like the Crystal Method and it turns out they did the video for "Born Too Slow". You can also check that out on Method’s site.

I might have just gotten some new drive to do SPeCks. Recently, I stumbled upon Mac Hall, yet another online comic. Sorry to do this to ya, MegaTokyo, but they are now my #1 online comic. Not that I have lost interest in MT, but MH is a bit more comical and the FFXI related pages (1 2 3 4) just choke me with laughter. Man so funny. And so true… What gets me is the amount of attention online comic artists/creators get these days. Not to mention all the conventions they get to go to for one reason or another. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, though SPeCks isn’t nearly as funny, I feel like it is certainly more so than, say, PennyArcade (find your own way to that particular “comic”). But the only way I can even get to that level, I need to do more issues/pages/whatever of it. So here’s to trying to get back on that wagon.

Finally, I have posted another one-off on DSNLG, viewable in my profile. I have also finally initiated an actual ’logue with another member. I have to make the first image, but I am so gonna take my time with it. Check back for more on that as it develops.

Nothing really exciting happening in the rest of the world. No crazy links. No news at 11.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Mudbugs A Plenty

I had lunch at Gumbo’s today with the rest of the office crew (including Anthony). Being at a place called Gumbo’s naturally implies you should try the gumbo. They serve it, right? I scan the menu (primarily to see how many mudbug dishes they have) and the first 1/4 of it is dedicated to their different types of gumbo. Proud much? Of course they have a Crawfish Gumbo and an Étoufée. I am a big fan of the cra-dadde, so I order the name sake of that variety. $10.50.

Worth every freakin’ penny.

Every spoonful, filled with at least one and often times -two- chunks of crawfish. And these aren't wimpy chunks. No, no. Pretty sizable pieces in that soup. It was just plain good. Nothing else to say about it. And a mere walk up the block from the office. I think there was some conversation during the meal. I had crawfish. Good crawfish. I didn’t notice.

Aside from good gumbo, I had the house salad to start off the meal. [By the way, their dinner rolls are real nice too.] One of the things I judge a restaurant on is their house salads. Not specialty salads or salad bars. The house salads. Sometimes known as the Dinner Salad. Currently, Outback Steakhouse has the best house salad — in my opinion. That's a good place to eat too, but not necessarily my favorite. When I get a salad, I use it to determine the quality of the food as well as the quality of the service. Generally, salads come prior to the main course. If my salad comes at the same time as my meal, there is too much in front of me and I feel rushed to eat it all. The steak (assuming I got steak that time) might get cold if I wait to finish the salad first. The salad will lose its crispness if I eat it whilst eating the main meal. Those are factors that put me off during a meal. So if a waiter/ress brings the salad too late, the service takes a dip on the ’ol meter.

Food quality: I dislike grainy salads. I understand that I am eating rabbit food. Please don’t make it -feel- like I am eating rabbit food too. The “wild” greens thing doesn’t do it for me. I don't understand putting in lettuces that have a dirty, gritty texture to them. Why would I want to think I am eating dirt? The same with baby frisée. C’mon… To say fresh, you don't need to include part of the landscaping. Also, the quality of the salad as a whole can elude to the quality of the food overall. How much grease is on the bacon bits (if they are real)? Croutons a bit soggy? Is the lettuce wilted? The cheese a little sour? What other cold items aren’t being maintained back there? The baked potatoes might be good, but if the cheese is bad on the salad, it will be bad on the potatoe. Finally, if the salad is a plate with 5 leaves, a carrot “twig” and a sprig of parsley – how much is gonna come on the main entrée? Most likely, not a lot.

Again, this is my way of rating restaurants. A good house salad generally means a good meal -and- dining experience. So far, I have yet to find a restaurant that had a good meal (and service) after a poor grade on the house salad. With that said, Gumbo’s house salad was big, timely and tasty. We all know how the gumbo turned out.

I wonder if -my- Soundwave did this whilst I slept…

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Pain Is Minimal

Well, it is done. The first one-off is away.

I gotta say, I am surprised I actually went with Labor for my first one. The idea sorta just popped into my head as to what Labor actually means to me right now. Since I graduated from college I have been employed by four companies as a designer (of sorts). My last year in college, I interned at two. I graduated in December of ’98, so that means I have worked in 6 design related positions. In 6 years. My résumé sux0rs, hehe.

So anyway, you can check it out from my profile page on DSNLG. Be gentle.

I just ran across this great pianist, Yuko Ohigashi. She composed this one song that, along with a music box, is just beautiful in its haunting melody. I think she is like 13. Anyway, I go to iTunes to download this song. Mystery. I was looking forward to listening to all 5 minutes of it. Unfortunately, 2:29 into the song, it just stops. There is silence for like a minute and a half and then at 3:59 it starts up with all this digital noise. Scratches, skips, strange digital feedback stuff. This is a piano piece, with a music box. This isn’t some experimental digital foray from an analog composer. So the MP3 is obviously hacked up or something. Emailed iTunes Support. The waiting begins.

Speaking of music, some of you may have clicky’d on over to see what I am listening too from the link on the right. Some of you may have noticed that it says I’m not listening to anything at all. Well, that isn't true. I have been listening to streaming feeds from GrooveRadio. This “station” is not available through iTunes’ current Radio library so the stream does not get updated with titles and other info which would then be posted by AudioScrobbler. Of course, I am not sure AS can update my record from a streaming feed anyway. I find I am on this station a lot during the day. They even play a couple spins by DJ Benny Benassi. I love that guy!

If you want to hear an even more haunting version of Mystery, go to 247 MediaStudios. I believe they edited/remixed it a bit with emphasis on the music box, but it will get you hooked all the same.

Damnit!!! I just gave myself a Jolly-Rancher® style paper cut on my tongue!!!

Monday, June 21, 2004

Labored Themes

Well that title sux. I want to really strive to post on this blog when it is truly relevant or important to something I am experiencing in my career or life in general. I’m not gonna wax prophetic here, but what I want to try to avoid is the 3 line posts that say, “I fed my cat today. An approving meow was heard. Love your pets.”

I did not have anything of interest happen on Friday. I saw The Last Samurai. Not bad. They even kept with some history. It's too bad the man-dresses went out of fashion and, ultimately, never caught on here in the States. Saturday was not of particular greatness either, though I did see the latest Harry Potter. I will have to reread that book as I do not remember Ron having to face the bogart (sp?) in which it turned into an enormous spider. Spiders are horrible blights on the planet that exist to destroy me and all general good in the world. Overall, I liked it very much. The dark tone of the film was quite nice. There was more random acts of magic and just emphasis on things magic in this installment of the series. The faint sound the wands would emit when casting the smallest of spells was a touch that was very thoughtful and much appreciated. Sunday was just Sunday. Telling me with every hour that the weekend was ending and I had done nothing life altering this go around.

So what meaningful topic should this post discuss? Design and how it affects the conversations of society? Perhaps color theory and why a quiet, natural theme is more relevant to the Chancellor’s newsletter than the progressive combinations of urban chic? Or how about the use of type to wrestle a moral from the latest ad craze? I have nothing as inspiring or as intellectual as that. I have yet to even create my first one-off at Designologue. Yes, I am even too lazy to make that a link.

Lately, I have felt my days a bit lack-luster. Not due to my job (or perhaps so, in that I am so exceedingly efficient at it). I have, however, found some spare moments to create, or rather, explore making textures. I have created a couple so far that mimic the faded edge of a wallet sized photo. You know, the kind that has been sweltering in your back pocket and the ink of the photo is rubbed off on the edges. All part of my learning the ways of the weathered.

Speaking of weathered, the boys at RedLabor have, as the first page of their Portfolio section, a website for Static II. This looks to be a documentary of sorts about skaters. RedLabor is real top notch with the antique/grunge look. Their textures are truly one of a kind. There’s t-shirts, logos, DVD inserts. Nice stuff. They also did the intro for the Static II film as well as (I’m assuming by the look of the two being so similar) the trailer.

This last bit, the motion stuff (intro/trailer) is where I think it loses the RedLabor touch (or rather, didn’t need the RL touch). I had no idea what Static was, but from watching the intro alone (which was the first thing I saw even before the site) it felt like a TV show. Then I started to pick up the TV documentary feel. Kinda like what you would see on TLC late night about the underground of skater life or something. There just wasn’t anything very special about the intro. Matter of fact, I caught myself yawning about 2/3rds the way through. The music was dull and didn’t remind me of the xtreme-ness of skateboarding and I felt like I was watching the intro to a horror/mystery show than something dealing with grinds and flip-kicks. Bottom line, from the intro and the trailer, the only thing that said skateboarding for the film was the guys actually on skateboards. Sorry RedLabor, I am just -not- diggin’ it. Visually, it’s not bad. A bit misplaced and awkard, but even lacks the dirty feel that is so characteristically RL. It’s a different dirt. Can’t explain it. I don’t think it promotes the film in the best way. I still don’t know the underlying theme/story of the documentary.

Ok - this is actually a unique arcade up-scroller.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

New-Old School

I have always been fascinated with old things. I mean things that are either old or just plain look old. Many shops today create images that look like they popped right out of the 50s and were given a bath with rusty quarters and barbed wire. Abercrombie&Fitch uses this look on all their branded items, albeit with 70s imagery in most cases. Most notable for making things look like you just tripped on it behind a gas station on a naked stretch of Route 66 is Fossil. The packaging produced by this company, to deliver high-tech watches, are phenomenal. I love it!

Designers call this technique of aging prints/products/whatever: weathering. It is also known as antiquing, grunge, destroying, and what have you, but the most prevalent term is weathering. Probably due to the fact that it looks like you left the item out on your back deck for the last 5 years. Unprotected. Untouched. Unnoticed.

I really, really, really like this style and have tried to learn how to imitate it. There is software available that can help you out, for a fee. That being Mr.Retro’s Machine Wash for Photoshop. These are actually really nice filters, especially for under 50 bucks. Heck, for under $40. Most plug-in packages for Photoshop are just too expensive for the work/use you get out of them. But to truly get that dirty, "Holy Crap! Look what I found in Grandpa’s fourth drawer in the garage" look, there is no better resource than… your Grandpa’s fourth drawer in the garage. Should, however, your grandfather no longer be around to have a fourth drawer (much less a first), I suggest looking into Mr. Moll’s series, “That Wicked Worn Look”. It is a four-part series with the last segment featuring articles by some of the best in the grunge biz. Overall, the series is awesome. I look forward to using these techniques when appropriate. At last, the ability to modify my elementary report card’s P.E. grade.

Well damn... we’re all a bunch of Sushis.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

A Trip

Went to San Antonio today (all day) to finish up the final bits of stock photography for the System. Was really fun to go to another campus and take pictures of life outside of my immediate office. So, ya, that was fun.

My new scanner is neat. Just to show you I’m not a complete slacker, I will show you some 5-A-Days out of my sketch book. This is my first time to slap an image up on this blog in the middle of a post, so bear with me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Spam & Email Free

Most of you know that I work for The University of Texas System, the administrative (read: authoritative) arm of 15 institutions across the state, of which UT Austin is a part. Ultimately, I am a state employee for an organization of higher education. Benefits are an understatement.

Anywho, they are on a Windows based network here, as most state agencies are. So, the email server of choice is Microsoft's. Email program: Outhouse. I think Microsoft keeps calling it Outlook... Outreach... Outoftown... whatever. Well, that little gem of a program is no longer available for Macs. Am I disappointed about that? Not in the slightest. Matter of fact, I am taking pride in that I have yet to install a single Microsoft program on this machine (web plug-ins excluded). I praise my superiors for not requiring me to do so. Office is the place my computer resides in, not something residing in my computer.

The spam filters on UTS’ email servers are tighter than a mouse’s ear. They are so stringent, that if you are not within the UT System as a whole, it takes around 3 hours, if at all, for my mail program (Apple’s default Mail - works good so far) to receive the mail. Again, if it comes through at all. Forget about it if you are sending email from Hotmail, Yahoo, or other web-based email services. Ironically, Hotmail is owned by MSN, I am pretty sure. An email coming from an employee of the City of Georgetown even has trouble coming to me.

Now if the address is cleared via UTS, it will make it and eventually get to bypass most of the filtering process. But first timers and outsiders, no go. Take a number, wait in line, hope you don't get forever lost in limbo. The good news is, at work, I am spam free. Bad news, I don't get to talk much with people outside of work.

Unlike the separate mailbox I tried to set up in Outlook on the PC, Apple’s Mail can have multiple mailboxes that disregard the server for which they are not assigned. Clearly, I was doing something wrong in Outlook during the setup of the new mailbox, but it was actually filtering all mail coming from the new mailbox’s server through the UTS Microsoft Server as well. This made no sense to me, but there was nothing I could do. I was using an environment that I consider ludicrous in its design in the first place. So with Apple Mail, I can check email for my other, outside email addresses. Provided I know all the POP info. Unfortunately, my sitetamashii.com mail is not one of those. Also, I have been getting spammed lately on those outside addresses. Solution? Set a filter that immediately deletes all mail coming from an unregistered email address. What do I consider registered? If you are in my address book, you get through. If not, I’ll never know and, most likely, never care. Again, this is not the case with my sitetamashii.com mail. That is through Doteasy and they do not have the same filter options that Mail does. That would be kind of silly having a public email address to which no one could email too.

The reason I bring all this up is that I tried to contact an old college bud of mine while I was at work. They work for the American Heart Association now. I have never heard back from them. No doubt, because their mail never got to me. They could be real busy too, but who knows. Also, because I am not using Outlook, I have no access to forms and the like that are, apparently, only accessible through Outlook, such as Leave Requests, Telephone Services, etc. etc. Not to mention, I have yet to figure out how to send a Calendar meeting (I use iCal) to co-workers as I can’t set meetings through Outlook which they all use. Seems to me, that Outlook as quite a choke hold on the Windows-using populace. Not using Outlook? Tough noogies. Using a Mac? HAHAhahah...., wait... oh crap, it’s one of them thinkin’ types.

At least I’m not getting spam.

Welp… Looks like the secret to beer sales is out.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Magical PP Conference Calls

There might be speculation that, with my most recent posts, I might not be all that hip to my current job. That couldn't be further from the truth. My recent posts have nothing to do with my job, with the exception of the PowerPoint graphics I have worked on in the past couple days. The posts are a reflection of how I view myself as a designer in the design community. Every company (advertising, design, in-house) I have worked for has, at one time or another, requested PP graphics from me. It is some accursed side-effect related to the administrative/business half of companies. Designers, in general, do not like messing with PP. I mean, look at the abbrev. for Heaven’s sake.

With that said, I love my job and am having a great time here. Doing graphics for PowerPoint isn't my Crown Royal, but it doesn't mean I dislike my job.

Onto other issues: If I had known about this magic socket, my childhood would have turned out far, far different. A little bit of Engrish going on in some parts, but an interesting, if not disturbing, read.

In my spare time, I play FFXI, the online foray from SquareEnix on the PlayStation2. There are these things, much like glorified cell phones, known as Linkshells. They basically allow a group of people to communicate to each other, wherever they are in the game, similar to conference calling. About a week ago, I got into a Linkshell called TheYakuza. I have friends in it and after my other LS died, I thought that would be a good place to go. And they seemed cool. Well, last night, I got booted from the shell. My pearl (or "cell phone") was destroyed by one of the members that had that authority. Details can be found on the June 13th post, under Comments at the Yakuza site.

I am working on that one-off for Designologue. It is a debate to do the Standards theme or the Portrait theme. Both have some ideas tumbling in my skull and both are having a good Wrestle Mania over it. The popcorn is stale though.

Sunday, June 13, 2004


Replace Technology with Topic.

So recently, I signed up on Designologue.com to get a bit more involved as a designer. This being the more self-exploratory type. There are some very good designers on this site. I am actually quite impressed with Lincoln (probably one of the best ’loguers on the site).

There is a level of intimidation on this site that I can’t describe. These guys are good. However, I feel it is that fear that could help me become a better designer. Not that I am out to impress them, but that I will certainly do my best not to look like a total fool when I ’loguing with someone. And with every response, I could only learn, right?

All I gotta do to start, now, is to do a “one-off” designologue. I’ll take my time.

Elsewhere, I bought a scanner at the Apple Store. It is a CanoScan LiDE 80. Is nice. My first scanner. Only one problem — the software for it runs only in Classic. That’s OS 9. OS 9?!?! Apple is about to release OS X.4, the fourth version of OS X. FOURTH!!! And Canon is making products that only run in OS 9? Now, I think that the scanner is great. It scans. That’s what I want it to do. It was under $200. That’s about as much as I wanted to pay. But the whole having to run Classic just irritates me. Step up Canon… get with the times.

*sigh* SPeCks. Ok… they haven’t been squished, but I am just not into them right now. I don’t feel very comical and it is hard for me to generate the story right now. Writer’s block, maybe? I dunno. So… you’ll get ’em when you get ’em. I have the first page scripted for Issue 3, but am going to sit on it until I finish the next two.

Now, about that “one-off”…

Saturday, June 12, 2004

i Go To iStore

I am currently writing this post from a 17" iMac at the new Apple Store at Barton Creek Mall, in Austin, TX.

This place is nice. This is also the first Apple Store I have ever been too. The layout of the store is very Apple. And everything has that "new box" smell. Just about every machine has an iSight attached so you can test that little dandy of a product out. iPods abound so you can interact with that toy. Emmersing a person in the iLife experience is definitely the goal with this place.

I need to end this post just so I can check out the rest of the store.

I could live here.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Considering Involvment…

I get so down on myself with regard to being a designer due (and perhaps in no small part) to my lack of physical (or virtual as well) involvement with the design community. I rarely, if ever, attend events. Also, I just don't know a lot of people of great significance in my career. I know -of- people, just haven't truly met the majority (read: 99%) of them. Sure, I have seen some at, say, a conference, but that was so long ago and apparently so uneventful that I can't remember who they all were. I remember Dana Arnett at the Creative Summit way back when I was at SWT. So that's one. I had lunch with DJ Stout. That's two. That's it. Those are the biggest names I have "met" in the biz. And Dana was a guy speaking at a show. I never actually talked to him, introduced myself or even shook his hand. So back down to one.

I just came from Typographi.ca where there is an interview of Phil Martin (founder of Alphabet Innovations and TypeSpectra) by Mark Simonson. Now Mr. Simonson discovered the existence of Mr. Martin when he was in high school. The discovery was also a pivotal moment in his life in that it is what got him interested in type design. Ultimately leading to his interview with the very man that essentially seeded said interest of type.

I read the interview and started thinking to myself, "Is there anyone, in the design community, that has this kind of affect on me? And, if so, would I want to interview and have relevant questions for that person?"

The answer: Nope. Can’t think of anyone. The one person that might have fit that mold is now, sadly, no longer among us. That person being Paul Rand. Even if he was still alive, I am not sure what it is exactly I would ask him.

Back to topic. Most of these people that I read about, or look up to (in some fashion or another), have one thing in common: they actually know other people in the industry. They may, or may not, have had dialog with each other or all, but they have, for the most part, met each other. All the guys in my Dailies Bookmark Folder "know" each other and in most cases have actually met and dialoged together. When I say "know", I mean they reference each other in their own discussions. Each one has done or is doing something relevant to the other and to the industry. And this isn't because they are the biggest names in the biz (though most of them are) it is because they got off their asses and got involved, to whatever degree, with the industry.

What have I done lately… not a lot. Not really anything, actually. I can’t even remember the last AIGA meeting I attended — for which I was a student at the time. The last design show I was at was the ADDY Awards in 2002. I have never been to SXSW Interactive, no matter how many times I have seen a name of someone I would like to hear speak. If I would just go to a couple of conferences, I might feel a bit more involved. That would give me more confidence to network more, perhaps, which could then, in turn, open dialog with the people that I regard as important to design, which could then give me some self credibility that I feel I am sorely lacking.

I imagine in the future — 20 or so years down the line — some kid will be sitting in their high school history class mulling over late 20th Century tax reform on their desk monitor when they receive a pop-up message from their friend in Stockholm. That message will be about this conference happening in Toronto, featuring, you guessed it, some well known designer. And they will both go to see him. And they will network with him and others of a like-mind. And they will eventually grow up to speak at conferences about their expertise at which high school students/fans will come to.

I’ll likely be doing graphics for PowerPoint presentations.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Phoning It In

this is an audio post - click to play

wow… gotta say it backwards …wow

Monday, June 07, 2004

Self Loathing Ahead…

I live to design, be a better designer and to make a career of communicating. I must be on life support. The bottom line is: I am a hack.

By examining my Bookmarks folder entitled Dailies, one can fully appreciate the sheer enormity of my failure, in comparison, as a designer. These are the sites I check at least once each and every day of my miserable attempts at being a designer:

Douglas, Todd, Cameron, Jeffrey, Shaun.

Now I know what you are saying: "Hey jerk! What makes you think you can refer to these esteemed gentlemen by their first names? Show some respect! That's Mr. (insert name here) to you, boy!"

And you’re right. I don’t deserve referring to them by their first name. However, those are my links as they are listed in my Dailies folder. I know that Mr. Dominey does whatdoiknow.org and rather than list out the site address and/or his name, I can simply refer to the link as "Todd". Trust me, I know their last names and so far feel blessed to see their respective pages pop up in my browser window.

I feel these gentlemen are recognized, more notably, in the web-design community, but I don't think the type of media excludes you from a genre of work. Photographers used film composed of this crazy combo of salts, gelatin and polymers (cellulose acetate). Now they use a neat little combo of silicons and plastics inserted into slots — digital technology boggles the mind. In the end, they are still photographers, they just use a newer media.

Mr. Moll has a tasty series on his “blog” (if you can call it such, as I consider most of these guys’ posts as articles related to industry with a peek into the everyday personal) concerning how to make your work look like it survived the “Duck 'n' Cover” days. This is more along the traditional design line, but regardless of his Photoshop savvy, one mustn’t overlook the beauty that is the website the tutorial resides. Clean, simple, easy on the eyes as well as a pleasurable means of attaining worthwhile information. I admit to seeing other sites sharing some basic aesthetics of this particular site (an older version of greasyskillet and Astigmatic come to mind), but there is enough here in content and visuals to differentiate.

Back on topic, I feel I am so far below these gentlemen that it is pathetic, nay, borderline mockery that I should call myself a designer at times. Even after deciding to look to these guys as a means of guidance and inspiration and -not- as an attainable goal in my career, I still feel unworthy to "open in tabs" every morning.

Jeez... that was rather self-deprecating.

Elsewhere: No more Ozarka in the office until the 9th. Crap.

Friday, June 04, 2004

I Gots Style

Something I have noticed my tastes leaning towards is a particular style of illustration. I have termed this style "Candy" for no other reason than my inability to come up with a better one-word description. I feel that SPeCks comes close to this style, but not completely. I also feel that SPeCks is actually a development of my own style, though it shares some commonalities with the "Candy".

Good examples of "Candy" are: butternutsquash, Snackbar-Games, scoab. These are a ridiculously small handful of examples that sorta fit into the genre. There are countless icons that are done in styles similar, if not dead on, to what I am talking about. Describing it is difficult for me, the best I can do is point it out when I see it. It's rounded corners, good (and appropriate amounts of) shading, bright colors, lots of colors, extra colors... It's cartoony. It's juicy. It's fun. It's "Candy"!

Allow me to bore you with the details concerning the origins of SPeCks. The comic sprung to life from a doodle on page 157 of S03 (that's my third sketch book). That doodle spawned another doodle. And another, and yet another. When I say doodle, I mean tightly inked drawings using a T-806 template (those green architect stencils). They were cute little spiders (though spiders are far from cute) and they deserved a story. This all happened on July 17, 2003. [SIDENOTE: Oddly enough, I had not yet gotten into online comics. I actually didn't know about the ones I read now (MegaTokyo, Alpha Shade, among others) until a couple of months ago. I read all of MegaTokyo the first day I discovered it. :END SIDENOTE] Once I had the drawings, I immediately began working on the characters and story. After I got most of the characters figured out, I realized there wasn't even a Bazooka Joe comic of a story. I had nothing, bubkis, nada, zilch, the big round goose egg of squat. I wanted a story and not necessarily 4-panel skits. To be honest, I probably should have gone with the skits. Not to mention, I only had black & white line art for the comic and no ideas on how I was to actually produce them. Well, "Candy" came to mind for the basic look and doing a comic online seems to be the fad of choice lately. With some extra touches by moi, SPeCks gets produced at least once a week.

Elsewhere, badgers are all the rave (if you don't know, please return to your cozy rock): Footy, Footy, Footy

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Driving Me Crazy

So few things get me wired in the morning like seeing justice doled out to the ignorant masses that were unwittingly graced with a driver's license.

There are two intersections on my route to work that have Turn and Straight only lanes. The first intersection (Street A and Street B) has a Right Lane Must Turn Right sign (when traveling on A, crossing past B). There is also another sign, on the stop light, with an arrow pointing to the right and the word 'ONLY' beneath it. It is clear that if you are in the right lane of A, you -must- turn right onto B. Apparently, there are those in the world issued "Traffic Signs Are Suggestions" licenses. People will back up the right lane on A because they feel that going straight is an option, and are among the privileged few to ignore said signs. Two such cars did it this morning.

The second intersection is a much larger one. In this case we will call them Street C and Street D. Street C has 3 lanes crossing over 4 lanes of Street D. C's lanes are marked as follows:
Left Lane — Left Turn Only
Middle Lane — Straight Only
Right Lane — Straight Only (the right turn is well before the intersection)
Now there are (coincidentally) 2 cars who are in the middle lane that were issued the "TSAS" license. Car #1 takes a left from the middle lane almost colliding with a car from the left lane, who was turning left as "suggested". Obviously, the left lane driver was in the wrong. Had he known Car #1 possessed a "TSAS", he most certainly would have yielded the right-of-way. Still, he felt obligated to honk his horn in what was, most likely, an apology for getting in Car #1's way. Car #2 is about 2-3 cars behind Car #1. He sees the action taken by #1 and decides he needed to turn left as well. As he does (with surprisingly no interference from other vehicles from the left lane) a motorcycle cop spies the activity. Cherries are lit up with a quaint little "breep-breep" of the siren. Clearly, #2 does not possess a "TSAS" and the officer knew this immediately. Now, I know, #1 got away with it because the officer most likely wasn't looking in the direction at the time. Kudos to the honking driver for getting the officer's attention.

SPeCks now has two — TWO — complete issues!!!! You can check out Page 6 here. This weekend I will be hashing out the rough ideas for Issue03. I know what the main objective is, just need to script the story more.

Last night, I went to Barnes&Noble and bought Zeldman's book, Designing with Web Standards, and a Rob Dougan CD, Furious Angels. Zeldman has some status among web designers/developers and most of his practice can be seen at A List Apart. Dougan's music has been heard in all the Matrix movies and a few other commercial properties and should not be overlooked. I really like his version of electronica/dance. To me, his style is best described as classical meets techno. I feel it is classical (orchestral) music for my generation.

I am seriously considering making these posts more relevant to design. Rest assured, it is merely on the table for consideration.

Quote of the day: "Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution, manifested in an appropriate agent. Personified, in this case, by an ornery cunt. Me" –Brick Top Polford, Snatch.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A Story About A Story

I have a lot of stories that pop into my head. Mostly, these stories are generated through random and singular thoughts or from the many small illustrations that reside in my sketch book. I have several repeating thoughts that seem to naturally beg for a story to accompany them. Some can involve a bit of violence. This may be my action-hero/Y-chromosome coming out. Generally, however, they are quite pointless and silly. “Where’s My Pickle” comes immediately to mind. I find several movies out there failing in the promise of a -good- story. They mostly concern themselves with special effects and the like to grab our hard earned cash. Don’t even get me started on the flop that was the final installment of The Matrix.

My life, for the most part, is rather trivial and uneventful — to me. I have moments, but they rarely are the stuff of novels. This is why I generate most of these stories. To give life to something, an exciting life, that it would not normally possess. I have already developed a series of illustrations for W-M-P, all linking one to the next with a ridiculous back story. Before I scripted the first page of SPeCks, I developed each character's history and the reason for each issue to exist. Granted, the main story line has deviated a bit, but the heart of the life of SPeCks is being realized page by page. I find that I am giving purpose and history to every character I ever think of and in most cases, it turns out better than the story meant to place them in.

Example: I have a story about some future version of humanity living on a remarkably large, continuously developed/growing space station. I have the basic idea of the plot but I have spent countless hours on the reason for the space station's existence. From the back story, I have this one rather interesting event, that for all intents and purposes, was meant as a side note — a precursor. Well, there is an incredibly imaginative story in that side note just waiting to come out. I also spent more time developing the history of one character in the space station story then I did on the plot line.

I’d like to do a story about an assassin. By itself, this subject matter is tired, over done and, often times, poorly executed. I have found that with my (what I consider unique) perception of the main character, however, the story takes on an interesting twist and pulls it away from the same dribble lining our bookstore shelves these days. The real problem is the fact that I feel I lack the true prose abilities required to captivate a reader into actually reading this (or any) fiction I come up with. Not to mention, one version of this story has a close friend worry for my sanity and lives in a, now constant, state of paranoia in my presence.

I guess what I am saying is, that sometime in the future, I would eventually like to see one of these stories fledged out into a graphic novel for public consumption. With any luck, James Kersey will illustrate said book.

In other news: Page 6 of Issue02 is finally scripted and ready for production. I will work on it tonight for posting and then begin work in earnest on Issue03. I am thinking about creating the next panel in the W-M-P story, so expect a piccy for your desktop, perhaps by the end of the weekend. Remember, W-M-P is not necessarily a true story line as much as a set of pictures representing a story that has yet to be recorded.