windshield, 7.26

windshield, 7.26

Starting tonight, Jen and I are on a long-needed vacation up to my folks’ house, so I probably won’t be posting here too much in the next week. But I will come back with a ton of pictures, a relaxed demeanor, a killer tan, and hopefully some more freelance work. Stay tuned.

It’s pretty wet out there today, but it’s supposed to get up into the 90’s next week. I worked out all the kinks (hopefully) in my irrigation system in the backyard, so during our vacation the plants will be watered.

Song of the day: Mongrel, DJ Shadow.

Speaking of, I will offer an opinion on the ‘Bonus Track’ offered with the CD I wrote about yesterday: Big deal. I used my Windows machine, and went through all manner of steps just to bring up a Windows Media Player to play a streamed remix of ‘Giving up the Ghost’. So every time I might want to hear this ‘Bonus Track’, i have to insert the disc, jump through the hoops (enter my personal information) and then I have to use WMP to hear the song. WMP sucks. And from a marketing perspective, it seems pretty worthless to not advertise the ‘Bonus Track’, as well as make the customer go through all the hoops to hear the song, just so they can collect info on my marketing demographic.

I found this link via today: True Porn Clerk Stories. apparently it’s had some exposure on NPR lately as well.

Date posted: July 26, 2002 | Filed under geek, links, photo | Leave a Comment »

I went to the CompUSA nearby my office yesterday to find a PCMCIA adapter for my camera’s flashmedia, and while I was there, I played with the new iMac and iPod up close. I was very impressed with the engineering on both products- wow. I love the size, shape, feel, and interface of the iPod. I would love to buy one of these if I could hook it into my home stereo system and get high-quality sound from it. I do like the fact that it now can hold contacts and calendar information; I would actually have a reason to sell the Palm and buy an appliance that handled more than one task. eBay has a bunch of new Palm IIIxe’s for $75 or so. Unfortunately, the cheapest iPod is $299, and it’s only 5 GB.

Midnight in a Perfect World Department:
I found a link off about Gracenote, better known as CDDB, the helpful folks that provide the track information when you pop your new CD in the drive. I poked around, and found this link to the DJ Shadow bonus content. Pleasantly surprised, I popped the disc in my player on the PowerBook and hit the site. I was greeted by this message.



I know this is not Shadow’s fault for setting it up like this, but shit, man, is it too hard to take the extra half-hour to add the code in to make this stupid site compatible with Macs as well? Thanks a lot, guys. I would take a wild stab here and say that there’s a good chance a large percentage of his fans use a Mac as their primary machine, and that Macs were used to produce the album.

It seems that it is impossible to find the frickin’ batteries for my cellphone anywhere besides the AT+T store. I’d like to be able to walk in somewhere and buy them, instead of paying for the shipping as well, but it’s looking more and more like I have to bite the bullet.

Date posted: July 25, 2002 | Filed under geek | Leave a Comment »

I got the pictures back from the Scout guy, and they are not as good as I had hoped. There is some bubbling and rust over the passenger rear fender; the tailcap on that side is bashed pretty good, and there are dents over other parts of the body. I have some thinking to do about it this next week, while I’m off.

I also have a few ideas for an illustrated story that I want to attempt to begin; I’ve been waiting for a simple way to get some reference material, and now that I have a digital camera I want to start exploring the visual style.

More thoughts on the Bank Of America online billpay system:

  1. Setting up recurring payments is a three, possibly four-step process; first, entering the payee information, then entering the payment information, and finally entering the recurring payment information. There is an entry page, a confirmation page, and a review page. This could be shortened into two steps and handled in fewer screens—the importance of warning screens are not to be taken lightly, but there’s room for simplifying here.
  2. The review screens are split apart into several different ares. This makes sense on one hand, but not having all the information in one area, preferably in a calendar format, is confusing and possibly misleading.
  3. I would also like to see the payment information come with a ‘hold’ button, so that when people like me, with an intermmittent paycheck, have cash flow issues, we can hold a payment up to avoid overdraft fees.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: July 23, 2002 | Filed under art/design, CMS, Scout | Leave a Comment »

My Dad is in surgery today for his prostate. Hopefully it will go smoothly and quickly, and he will fly through it with no problems. Good luck Dad. I love you.

Jen and I had a good weekend planting and working. We found a pair of boxwoods, a butterfly plant and bought a bunch of dirt at Lowe’s, and planted it all, as well as repotting the crepe myrtles. Unfortunately I think we’re going to lose one of them—it fell over on its side and cooked for a while before I got home and righted it, so all the leaves are shriveled and unhappy.

Through my buddy Tim, I found this site, which has a really interesting primer on relational databases.

Update: Dad is out of surgery, doing well.

Date posted: July 22, 2002 | Filed under family | Leave a Comment »

My alma mater, while being one of the top-rated Visual Communications schools in the country, suffers from having one of the worst college websites ever. They had built a cutting edge site in 1998 and did nothing to it but tack on extra sections and pages, none of which look alike. Right now the alumni pages are down and I can’t look at the drawing schedule.

Another late half paycheck. This is so damned annoying…

10:05 PM On the way home tonight, with two large crepe myrtles stuffed into the back of the Scout, I crawled down I-83 waiting for a blinding summer thunderstorm to slacken off. She was running smoothly, NPR was murmuring about the Enron scandal, just barely audible above the engine rumble and slick sweeesh of wet car tires on pavement. I merged south into clearer lanes and at the bottom of the hill I noticed a red truck off in the distance with a distinctly old profile. I sped up just a bit, and his slow pace made the distance narrow quickly. His truck was another International, a mid-60’s pickup, with the name ‘ESTHER’ written in broad brushstrokes on the left of the stamped metal tailgate. I pulled up behind him, craned my neck over the swirling branches clogging up my rearview, and pulled out to the middle lane. ESTHER motored along in the slow lane, carrying a big canoe on work racks. I pulled up alongside and waved to the guy driving, a heavily tattooed man who waved back to me, smiling. We drove like that for a little bit, and I overtook him doing 50, grinning widely. He got off somewhere between the two ends, and I was sad not to be able to talk with him about ESTHER. I’ve seen her around town over the years, usually when I’m driving the other vehicle, and I haven’t seen the driver.

It’s rare, and sometimes it doesn’t happen for a long time, but when I get an occurrence like that happening, it makes me feel better about a lot of things, and like I belong to a secret community. Sometimes that’s all I need to feel better about life.

Unfortunately, my digital camera was under the seat, so I couldn’t get a picture of ESTHER. Maybe next time….

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: July 18, 2002 | Filed under art/design, Scout | Leave a Comment »

Here’s a selection of sites from my Favorites list over the past year, now that I’m cleaning up the computer following completion of the game: Urban Archaeology.

Interesting subject, horrible execution: Ghost Towns. Somebody, anybody, please tell the good people of the world that dropping white text on a textured, picture background is about the most illegible design choice possible. I can’t even select the text to read the knockout—it’s a block of white. Forgotten Stations is a site which does it right: easy, intuitive organization, a ton of links, clean grammar, and intense documentation. Another good urban archaeology site, while not being a great example of design, is Forgotten NY, which is broken down into convenient sections. The wealth of this site is the sheer number of links; the site itself breaks the rule of having blocks of text over dark photos. I am a fan of painted outdoor advertising signs, and the section here is fantastic. Friends of the High Line is a site dedicated to the preservation of the old West Side elevated rail in NYC; it’s beautiful, contains an extensive gallery, and works very well as an informational site. Dinercity is an documentary site about classic aluminum diners; unfortunately it overlooks the one closest to my folks’ house in Auburn, NY. (pictures coming soon.) Roadside America has a day’s worth of reading about all manner of American oddities, including the ubiquitous Muffler Men.

Here’s a new set of sketches from last night’s studio. It was a good night, but by 9:30 I was losing focus, so I packed up early. Sketch one | Sketch two

Date posted: July 17, 2002 | Filed under art/design, drawing, links | Leave a Comment »

What I learned in Art College, Revisited or I Still Don’t Like Patchouli:

  1. The Greatful Dead didn’t inspire me to make great works of art when I was in school. Box of Rain may be pretty, but I always hated sloppy jam bands.
  2. Turpentine still makes me queasy.
  3. If I can’t resolve a short-pose drawing in 15 minutes, it probably isn’t happening.
  4. A number-two pencil is my friend.
  5. I love to draw, but I suck at painting.

Somebody sent one of those totally annoying email viruses to my Verizon address. Apologies to any of my friends who may have gotten it from me.

Date posted: July 16, 2002 | Filed under history | Leave a Comment »

Ellicott City, Monday July 15

Katie made a good point tonight when I ran into her at the grocery store: I didn’t have a good way to get people to the pictures other than the links buried in the text, so I added a list of links to the sidebar. Thanks Katie! (duh, bill)

This morning on the way back from the Saturn dealership, I happened to pass through Ellicott City and a Model T club meet. For a wonderful summer morning, I was easily able to imagine the main street in 1925, bustling with commerce and people.

I spent some time looking at the BMW Films site last week, and explored it further today. Following the lead of some of the clues in the additional movies, I found a website where they had left clues to set up a covert meeting for people to pick up a package, most likely of BMW materials or some other promotional gift, tying in with the ‘secret agent’ feel of the series. What a fantastic use of the Internet as a marketing tool. I wonder if the series did anything for them in sales, because they sold me on a variety of different aspects of the BMW line. If I had the discretionary income to afford an entry-level BMW sedan, I would surely buy one. And from a marketing standpoint, this is a company that gets it.

Jen and I went to a great party on Saturday at Tim and Sue’s place, got to see the spread and meet the dog, and spent Sunday looking at antiques. A very relaxed weekend. Jen found a teapot in my mother’s pattern that I’m going to buy her for her birthday; hopefully it will look good with the rest of her collection. It was also really cool to be able to take pictures of the items to cross-check with my Mom.

Unfortunately I missed Bill the Scout Guy when he was in the field this weekend; he called at some time on Sunday when I couldn’t hear the phone. Darnit.

Date posted: July 15, 2002 | Filed under friends, photo, photography | Leave a Comment »

I had the first drawing class of the summer last night, and it felt really good. I walked with a bunch of good stuff for having taken almost a years’ sabbatical from drawing. Sketch one | Sketch two | Sketch three

Date posted: July 12, 2002 | Filed under art/design, drawing | Leave a Comment »

It is a balmy and comfortable 70 degrees outside today; I drove the Scout in to work even though I barely have enough gas in her to get home. This cash flow problem at work is getting ridiculous, but the weather sure is nice.

Interesting article on the discovery of John F. Kennedy’s PT-109. NPR did a really great job on this. As a kid, I was a military history buff (still am) and this story captivated me. Robert Ballard has what could be the world’s best job; he gets to go find sunken ships all over the world, do research on them, meet the veterans, and write books about the experience.

On a related topic, there is a consortium based in Seattle who have just completed building a brand-new ME-262 from plans drawn up from an existing original. The thought that one of these planes could be flying again—even if it’s a copy—is amazing. I’m still waiting for the Collings Foundation to fly the Dragon and His Tail near Baltimore so I can see it up close.

OK, duh. Did they really think that we would be stupid enough to just ignore the history there? And everyone is amazed to find that consumer confidence is taking a beating? Wake up, guys.

11:55 PM: Paul Newman is on Letterman. He is something like 80 years old now, and I swear to god he looks not a day over 55. And he moves like he’s a mischevious 50. He either has the genetic makeup of the Greek gods, or the best plastic surgeon money can buy.

Date posted: July 11, 2002 | Filed under humor | Leave a Comment »