Album Of The Week 1.22.06
Beck, Guero. An excellent follow-up to Sea Change. Varying syles, subtle use of sampling (dig the backbeat in E-Pro) and lots of lush texturing. I like it more each time I hear it. Bonus: Check out “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” from the Eternal Sunshine soundtrack.

Date posted: January 25, 2006 | Filed under album of the week, shortlinks | Comments Off on Album Of The Week 1.22.06

So I’m up last night (Monday? Tuesday? What day is this?) at about 1AM working on my design portfolio in hopes of getting some new work. My initial idea was to lay the whole thing out in CSS and be all propeller-head, but my brain has been very soggy lately. After a few hours I switched to a table-based layout, and I was still having issues up until midnight. (I started in the early afternoon.) By 12:30 I was feeling very discouraged and blocked, so I turned to the internet to do some reading for a break. One of the first things I saw discouraged me to the point of crushing depression. I’m not going into the specifics here, but it made me look back and my own work and feel very worthless. At that point, I tried to rally but I just didn’t have it in me—it was like watching either of those two playoff games last weekend as a Denver or Carolina fan: nothing was working like it was supposed to, and by the end it was just embarassing.

I dragged ass to bed and laid awake for another hour and a half, attempting to convince myself that I was still a valuable commodity (actually, staving off panic is a better description) and finally drifted off to a troubled sleep. Every year or so, I get into a funk where I start measuring my life by all kinds of evil yardsticks—where I thought I’d be by now when I was 21, my life compared to other people I know, my career compared to other people’s careers, etc. Usually the results are the same: I’m upset and depressed and scared, and it takes many beers or some good news to get me out of the rut. It looks like this year is no different, and I got caught up in the self-flagellation thing again.

However, there are bright spots. Jen made chocolate cake two days ago, and it’s made sitting in the office for twelve hours at a clip much easier.

Today I woke up (at 10:30, ugh) and had a new idea on how to approach the structure of the site; by 4pm I had it mapped out and most of the bugs de-bugged. I uploaded everything at 12:30 this evening, and hopefully it’s working correctly in most browsers.

Behold: the new design portfolio, four (five?) years in the making. Still to do:

Check in older browsers. This is a CSS-based layout, so I’m hoping it doesn’t puke all over itself in Netscape 4.X or whatever old shite browsers are still out there.

Fix the timeline. there’s one page out of order with the rest.

Fix the footer. I wanted the footer to head all the way to the bottom of the page, but CSS footers are a big pain in the ass without using tables.

Link up all the damn pictures. eventually, the thumbnails are supposed to switch out with the main picture; I don’t have the energy to size down all the damn pictures right now. I’d also like to have the bottom of the tan area stay at a fixed position—but that’s for another day.

This also marks the unveiling of my new design identity, the first one in five or so years. Jen did a wonderful job distilling my identity down to the basics, and developing a cohesive design for the “brand”—design will have a separate identity from illustration, which will make both distinctive and different. I’m waiting for some checks to roll in so that I might be able to get the business cards printed, after about four years of having none.

* * *

We decided to hit the Gooch this afternoon at lunch to get out of the house. The Gooch is the local thrift store, right inside the city line, and sometimes the pickings are good. I poked around the books, looked through the clothes (nothing) and then found the “Electronics” section—usually a shelf or two of computer monitors and old inkjet printers. Today, though, I found a Sony CCD FX510 video-8 handycam sitting on the shelf, with an attached DC battery pack (meaning it plugs directly into the wall.) I futzed around with it for a few minutes, plugged it in, and fooled with the controls until I got a picture in the eyepiece; the tag said $9.95 as-is. I figured that if it powered on and made signal to the eyepiece, it was worth $10, so I snagged it. Miracle of miracles, Sony still has it listed on their site even though it’s analog tape—but they do have a scanned PDF of the owner’s manual. So all I need now is one Video-8 tape to test the record function. Update:I can get tape for $4 and a battery (providing the tape mechanism works) for as low as $20.

I also found three books in the circa-1954 “Made Simple Self-Teaching Encyclopedia” series: Astronomy, Physics, and Mathematics. They’re sort of the “For Dummies” books from the Eisenhower era, and they have a cool vibe to them. Obviously some of the information is dated, but I figure the basics of astronomy and physics haven’t changed at all, and they’ll make for some fun reading.

Date posted: January 24, 2006 | Filed under life | 3 Comments »

Django Project
I’ve not used Python before, but this looks like it’s interesting.

Date posted: January 23, 2006 | Filed under design, shortlinks | Comments Off on Django Project

…working on a whole new design for the design section of my portfolio site. It’s going to take some time, but I’m excited about the sketches. Special thanks go to my lovely wife, who helped whip an idea into an actual design—no small feat, given what I started with.

Date posted: January 23, 2006 | Filed under art/design | Comments Off on Busy…

CSS Wiki
Good information here.

Date posted: January 22, 2006 | Filed under design, shortlinks | Comments Off on CSS Wiki

Font Explorer X.
I’m testing out an alternative to Suitcase-a free utility from Linotype for managing fonts on OS X. More to follow.

Date posted: January 22, 2006 | Filed under apple, shortlinks | Comments Off on Font Explorer X.

Saying No To Wal-Mart.
Everybody and their grandmother has linked to this, but it’s a great story. The plastic chairs thing is a fascinating touch, and I wonder what it’s supposed to convey to the vendors—humiliation or humility?

Date posted: January 20, 2006 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Comments Off on Saying No To Wal-Mart.

Intel/Mac FAQ.
Good information on the switch. I’m going to have to read up on all this stuff…

Date posted: January 19, 2006 | Filed under apple, shortlinks | Comments Off on Intel/Mac FAQ.

Flatbed Scanner Photography.
I have GOT to try this. We have a UMAX scanner sitting in the basement collecting dust…

Date posted: January 19, 2006 | Filed under projects, shortlinks | Comments Off on Flatbed Scanner Photography.

Minolta Quits Camera Business.
WOW. I have a Minolta X-700 (35MM SLR) from fifteen years ago, and it’s a bombproof, reliable camera. On the heels of Nikon getting out of the film-camera business, this is big news.

Date posted: January 19, 2006 | Filed under design, shortlinks | Comments Off on Minolta Quits Camera Business.