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.